Floating in the creek like a dead leaf is my old heart—
I used to think it shy, 
some shade-hidden salamander 
making music, nudging underwater rocks 
beneath rotten leaves, 
clouds of sediment blossoming up.
But these days, it's risen— 
boiled up—so to speak.
Rock arteries stuck 
with grey nets of leave’s skeletons; 
flat, moss-covered rock 
where I could, on my hands and knees
clearly see creek’s trajectory—

water rushing through fingers toward
a life carved by unpredictable weather.
Flash forward to now:
The same creek. The same damn heart.
My children’s small bodies splashing 
red and yellow rain boots
bent to clean the same limestone arteries.
Water wearing banks— 
beneath the Bay trees ever skyward reach and risk.

—Iris Dunkle, Sebastapol, CA