When you finish with that quiver and bow,
Far-Shooter, come to my wide arms, ride
Tributaries to my core like a man tracing
His lover’s wrist-veins with warm fingers.
Raise dams of civilization on my banks,
Cover these curves with rock. Press your
Domain up as far as you can: we parent
Civilization here together, you and I,
Father and Mother, civilized and wild.
You walk among the mounds of one hazy
History, tantalizing meticulous seekers,
Dangling flint and ancient burned bones —
That culture feasted us, too, back then.
Lay that bow down gently on my banks,
Pass those shining hands over my murky
Waters until mud sinks and diseases die.
Oracles come and talk gene therapy,
Major and minor scales, conservation,
Big-time developments: all worship me.
Variable, fickle — you teach them to call me
Names when my belly swells and deposits
Fertile mud over commercial farmland,
Provide them with courage to toil and fight
Rising stages, leaching earthen barriers.
Rages like these come and go so quickly.
Above all, when you lay down that quiver,
Sit beside me and teach the tortoise to sing.
[Kayleigh Ayn Bohémier majored in English at Smith College. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in AlienSkin, He Epistole, and Unbound: A Devotional Anthology for Artemis (Bibliotheca Alexandrina). At her home in the Finger Lakes region, Bohémier blogs at Kallisti and conjugates verbs in nonexistent languages.]