Rill

Austin MacRae

Before I heard how loggers loosed
their logs on down the mountainside
by sluice, constructing miles of flume
along a floor of bowing ferns;
before I grasped how water works
with gravity to minimize
the timber’s heft and haul; before
I sank a hatchet deep and marveled
how a body hardens by
unalterable law,

I found a rill
murmuring down our hill between
the ash, an accidental trill
in which I placed a leaf and felt
it pull away from my fingertips,
spiraling a little, stuck
for a moment, then slipping past
itself at last, as all things will.

Austin MacRae

MacRae currently resides in Freeville, New York, and teaches English at Tompkins Cortland Community College. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in such forums as 32 Poems, Atlanta Review, The Cortland Review, Birmingham Poetry Review, and Verse Wisconsin.


Before I heard how loggers loosed their logs on down the mountainside by sluice, constructing miles of flume along a floor of bowing ferns; before I grasped how water works with gravity to minimize the timber’s heft and haul; before I sank a hatchet deep and marveled how a body hardens by unalterable law, I …

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