First break, crossing stream.
Hot. Don’t need this shirt.
Bashō says the poem
is only a poem
as it’s being written,

and then it’s gone.
No hurry to this lake.
Here I am beside this movement.
Red thread in water.
Follow it all the way home—

if it’s a shoelace,—
show itself in suchness.
This is the way, walker.
Four decades past
hiking into Goat Rocks

from back side, a lone hiker, 70,
walking stick his solitary companion,
stops me on the trail. One day,
I say to myself, and he carries me.
Heel to toe rest step,

here I am, his age.
Take a drink of water,
follow that string until
you don’t know its name,
a growing root, its own life,

disappearing under water.
Lightly through my fingers,
red threads in stream bed
touching the scouring storyline.
In the act of releasing

the other, I take bandanna
from my neck, immersing it
rippling in moving water.
Placing it over my head,
four corners of wetness

dripping and cooling,
I am given permission
to enter. What is clean
will remain, a reminder,
gift of red thread in moving water.

Jim Bodeen
25-28 June 2015

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