It only happens at the Pine River,
too far inland to be real.
All night I hear white water
slapping the bulkhead of the hill,
the prow of the island cleaving the river
into two torturous descents,
downstream oars lifting clear, hitting back.
Clearing the canvas chamber I wake in,
my comrades at fishing or women
in the darkness of syllables,
their movements subtle as new tides,
as slow and as secretive as turtles,
I find something fleshy in the night
that stars expose: a breather,
a swimmer climbing wet to the campsite,
a sailor overboard from a dream.