Ephemera on the Columbia
At Maryhill: Waiting for the Ferry

they found them
at the ford before the dam
washed over

down river machines
marching, gouging, driving
the river

children teetering
on river stone of rounded
gray granites and outwash basalt,
their shoes too stiff and March wind too cold,
like thieves at a gravesite

two black obsidian
arrowheads, Nez Perce-Nimi’ipuu
smooth convex

picked from the ford
detritus of the crafted hunt
the fishing camp, Nimi’ipuu
hoarded treasures, carried home
stuffed in an army outlet backpack
tossed in a back closet, and lost
like the passing wilderness
and the wild salmon

—Martha Kaplan, Madison, WI