Marvin Lurie

Near The Headwaters of the Des Plaines River

The river is deep here, fast for a prairie stream.
It runs alongside a narrow marshy field.
Its water logged surface can shuck off a boot.
I walk the solid edge.
My dog pushes into the brush to flush out a pheasant.
I swing my shotgun into the arc of its flight.
My shot tumbles the bird into the river.
My dog splashes across the field, jumps in after it.
She tries to climb out.
The bird in her mouth pushes against the high bank.
She falls back, drops it.
Swims downstream after it, twice.
The bird is pulled under by the current.
She struggles out, shakes herself off and comes to me.
I let go of my breath.
We walk to higher ground.
I sit on a stump with her next to me and watch the river.
Near here one spring, after the ice went out,
I saw a deer in the river
caught in tree roots under the bank.


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