Tuesday 20 October 2020

Tuesday, at the River

by Elise Stuart

You step down from the truck,
take a few steps,
and already there is water,
water wedded to mud.
Up a short incline of earth
there is a trail that is dry and sun-baked,
weeds and cactus along the edges.
A green gate.
Limbo through the middle
while your dog slips under the bar easily
and your friend climbs over the top.
You keep walking,
the sun heats up everything.
A small pile of stones, a marker,
means - turn left.
A tiny path becomes visible.
First you smell it, then see it
the Gila river,
a long-moving stream,
shallow, with a few deep pools.
Your dog follows his nose
exploring wild, untold stories.
He keeps the secrets to himself.
You wade into the cool water,
sun hot on your shoulders.
All silent, except the water.

On the way back you walk slowly,
tired from the heat blaring,
looking for rocks, feeling their edges,
then coming to a place where the water rose up once.
Surprised how high the swath of the river can be,
leaving large pieces of wood sculpted by sun and water.
You feel you are deep in another world,
that makes you want to be kind to everyone . . .
The ground becomes too hot for small dog feet.
Take turns carrying him until you
arrive at the mud,
at the beginning,
where the truck waits
to take you back
to that other world.

* * * * *

Elise Stuart is a writer of poetry and short stories. She’s facilitated numerous poetry workshops for students in Silver City schools, feeling how important it is to give voice to youth. Her first poetry book, and then her memoir, My Mother and I, We Talk Cat were both published in 2017. She lives in Silver City, New Mexico with four cats, a sweet rascal of a pup, and her piano.


  1. I was there, all the way--even tried to limbo under the green gate, strained my neck...

  2. So descriptive. I agree with Matthew above. I walked the river with you!