Robert Powell

Evening River

It’s the hour of black birds,
of light that takes flight.

In the river the water is lucid yet secret,
its other sky keeping the sunset
as though forever.

And here’s a moonful, O
so high over the roofs and willows,
its round mouth stopped with opal
but sharing too the glint
of emptying slate, the tilted
bottle of the three young women
who would still be girls
on the bench by the dark bank
that sleeves the river’s endless leaving.

Now a phone rings,
but distant, watery,
as though from yesterday,
and all seems still but is moving,
beneath, away.
It’s the hour of black birds
and light flying.
The women and the willows
let their spring hair
trail, auburn & green,
in the leaving river,
the moon opal air.

Robert Powell was born and raised in Ottawa, Canada, and now lives in York. He has published three collections of poetry: Harvest of Light (Stone Flower, 2007); All
(Valley Press 2015); and A Small Box of River (2016), a collaborative project with artist Jake Attree. His most recent project is a short film & projection, The River Speaks
(2017), with York-based creative producer Ben Pugh. His fourth collection, Riverain
(Valley Press) will be published in April.