Deschutes River Dream
The river is green opaque, swift.
Current runs steady, deep.
Reeds sway at river’s edge.
Hooded Mergansers rustle,
break free. Tree-swallows cut the sky
into blue scraps above yellow kayaks.
An osprey folds black wings,
plummets head down into glassy depths,
emerges, a line of silver between its talons.
We three bicyclists roll down the path
beside the river. Sunshine glints, blinds.
We turn to cross the wooden bridge.
Tires thud, bump across each joint between planks.
We stop, look back along the river.
A woman appears among the ponderosa pines.
Tendrils of grey hair escape her green straw hat,
a scarf threaded tightly through the brim,
knotted below her chin. I recognize her upright stance,
her direct glance. My mother stands poised at an easel,
slim black paintbrush between her fingers.
For a long minute she stares at us.
Then she is gone.
When I awake I search for the painting.
There’s the bridge arching over the green river.
There are the three cyclists. There, the brown dog.
There, always, the blue sky.
Vivienne Popperl lives in Portland, Oregon. Her poetry has appeared in several publications including VoiceCatcher, Persimmon Tree Journal, Oyster River Pages, and Willawaw Journal, and is forthcoming in Cirque and The Clackamas Literary Review. She was honored to serve as a poetry co-editor for the Fall 2017 edition of VoiceCatcher, an online journal of women’s voices and vision.