I was eight when rocks became crooked
and sand became grit, when the moon
lost a man and the river lost its way—

pocketing you into our land. Why you
weren’t deposited across the bay where
the grown fishermen stand, with sallow

mouths and seen it all eyes—you in black,
you in blue, you were half the age I now
am, still new to the terrors and the errors

all children make. I asked why your face
bobbed with the tide, how your shoe
had anchored you. I didn’t know words

like suicide or overdose—to me
you were just a boy in the water,
where you shouldn’t be. It was fear

in my mother’s face and my brother’s hand
pulling me close that harbored,
and my grandfather, when he came with a crew

to take you—he saw enough in war to say
you were clean, in a detached,
matter-of-fact, bizarre sort of way, now he too

lies six feet below, perhaps you already
know—the next day, when the river
returned, we dropped flowers into the shallow

and a snowbird landed in your stead. I still
go to that bank, where driftwood comes
to rest and I whisper into that brittle grain,

you are enough—

and when the train rumbles through, I imagine
you are on it, on your way past the steel
bridge, past the barbed rocks, past the wide-

eyed child and careless moon that lost you—
on to some quiet place
where snowbirds fly too—