Between millrace and rapids
on a scrap of river island
in the middle of Middlebury
beavers have felled two trees.

From the foot bridge I can see
muddy tracks in snow
where the beavers hauled themselves across,
and yellow shingles shaved by yellow teeth.

There is no other sign:
no dam, no lodge, no trail.
I keep going there.
I can’t help myself.

Snowmelt stretches the river over its banks,
backwater flotsam swirls in spirals.
I am leaning on the bridge and watching,
praying my peculiar prayer:

Teach me to dare to hope.

April  9, 2001 (when there was actually melting snow)

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