Richard Kenney

Hydrology; Lachrymation


The river meanders because it can’t think.
Always, with the river, the path of least resistance.
Look: lip of a low bowl swerves the river tens
Or thousands of miles wild. The least brink
Of a ridge and its python shies… How efficient— think—
Would a straight sluice to the sea be, in terms
Computable? When’s water simpler? Cisterns
Certainly, still as a tearful blink;
Lake effects likewise, like the great circular storms,
Tornadoes, hurricanes; those lesser weather systems
Too, troubling the benthos where the icecaps shrink.
Straightforward isotherms… or is it isotheres…
But a moment ago, someone mentioned tears.
Why tears, for love? Why rivers? I can’t think.


“Hydrology; Lachrymation” is reprinted from The One-Strand River (Knopf, 2008).


Richard Kenney’s most recent book is The One-Strand River (Knopf, 2008). He teaches at the University of Washington, and lives with his family in Port Townsend.


READING:  Richard Kenney will read with Tess Gallagher, Jim Bertolino, Brian Culhane, and Laurie Lamon at Elliott Bay Books on Thursday, November 1 at 7:00 pm.

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