Kitchi Manitou

by Andrea M. Newton

There are no rivers
that don't have bridges to chain them.
The iron bands tie the waters
like a leash on a broken dog.
No more do they pull tender grass
and dark loam from the frightened shore,
toss them on whitewater waves
in a primitive dance.
No more do they shout to the wind
and the sky and the grass
that cringe from the deafening roar:
"I am king! I am GOD!"

Quiet they lie beneath the bridges,
whimper and cry.
Skeletal trawlers trudge blindly
through their thin, grey waters,
dragging fish from God knows where
onto splintering decks.
But when the moon is low
and the wind tugs viciously
at frightened, balking trees,
the river joins them in their dance.
And echoes of its ancient cries
chill seamen in their sleep.