Saturday, March 30, 2013


photo: richard purinton

by Patricia Wellingham-Jones

Each spring they swoop
down the creek on snowmelt—
red and yellow, emerald green,
ultramarine with purple stripe.
Each kayak so fragile
the paddler lifts it
in one hand, this thin-skinned
shell of safety
flicks them down Mt. Lassen’s flanks,
around Black Rock, over rapids.
Swirls them through Mill Creek canyon
where boulders choke the angry stream
to flash by my house
in a final flurry of speed.
They whip a right angle turn,
slide each boat up the bank.
Leaving their fish-bird realm
behind, paddlers reel
light-headed, dense-bodied
onto the land.

~ previously published in The Horsethief’s Journal