Selected poems from Canoeing a River with No Name

By Ronnie Hess


Ronnie Hess

Postcard Never Sent

How quickly stillness comes.
Breathing is even, loose.

The night holds no terrors,
days, only regular sounds:

the paddle dip in water,
a bird’s wings overhead.

So far, no rain and
the bugs are bearable.

Last night, a full moon,
a dream of dancing fish. 











How to stop from crying

the wonder is without you
there is sound. Not your voice 

but the wrens, 
children in the playground,

their raucousness across the treetops,
and sirens, the muffled whirr of cars.

I took in the trash cans,
swept away catkins and spider webs,

filled time with air, sun, a coffee cup.
Who is counting? 

Only four hours
since you went away.


I spend my days trying to make decisions,
left bank or right. 

Yet, dear, you always seem to know
the way to read a river while I am dreaming,

think nothing of getting out to pull me
when the canoe runs aground.

I say such a dry summer, 
such low water levels.

You say so many sandbars
to bed us down.