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Snake River - Karen Greenbaum-Maya

Back when it was a treat

to sleep in tents on the ground,

we rafted down the Snake River in Wyoming.

Loaded with eight tourists, the raft floated low in the water,

sun too low to send more than a glint off the ripples.

We caught the smell off the banks, fresh and rank,

horsetail and coral cannas growing and rotting,

loose bits feeding fish that drew the adolescent eagle

jumping from a sandbar flat-taloned into the water,

refusing to swoop and scoop.

Such a stubborn teenager of a bird.

All the fish could see him coming.

A young moose’s antlers parted the cattails,

brown-gray nose like a wet sock

announcing the preposterous head

before the knobby knees emerged.

That morning I sat with you at my back,

you shielding me from the other tourists

tittering and sneering how they hated California,

I shielding you from the pull of the raft edge.

The air floating off the water, soft on my face.

One hand holding yours,

the other trailing fingers through the river.

Luscious passage of the ripples

telling my fingers

the ride was nearly over.


Karen Greenbaum-Maya is a retired psychologist, former German major and reviewer of restaurants, and, two-time Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee. Her first full sentence was, “Look at the moon!” Poems have appeared in Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, B O D Y, Riddled with Arrows, Heron Tree, CHEST, Spillway and, Rappahannock Poetry Review. Kattywompus Press publishes her three chapbooks, Burrowing Song, Eggs Satori, and, Kafka’s Cat. Kelsay Books publishes The Book of Knots and their Untying. She co-curates Fourth Saturdays, a poetry series in Claremont, California.


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