stooping for river-treasure,
grocery bag, tight under my elbow,
hands immersed, shocked in the current’s cold,
annoyance of snipping minnows at my feet —
everything is valuable at six.

learning pyrite and mica
as other kids learn pterodactyl and T. Rex
rubs no gold off these rough jewels.
Nor does newsprint spread beneath:
Idi Amin, Indira Gandhi, and Pol Pot,
circa Summer, 1975 —
(I’ve still never gained an eye for news.)

hunting chestnuts, later,
helping fabricate our autumn wreaths,
a paper bag, once more, to gather fallen gems
when summer burrows closet-deep
beneath barn coats and worn-out scarves —
in time too blustery for wading.

these days standing Winter deep
in February’s borrowed land,
resting on my shovel to regain my heart,
thinking of flowing river beds, wondering
how long since I’ve seen a chestnut fall
or a stone strike fire.