Jon Horton
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The Bend in the River

The water falls west
Where I was born

From the pass on the south end
Of that valley
The water doubles back and deadends
In the great salt lake

The north end of the valley
Drains to the
Snake river
The Columbia
Into the western sea

Later I lived on the Shoshone
The north fork
And that river falls
East and north
Joins the Gallatin
Gardner
Yellowstone
Clark
Greasy Grass
Big Horn
Belle Fourche

The swiftrunning water of my youth
Segments Wyoming and Montana
Cuts them into pieces of pain
And memory
Into slices of sweet life

Then falls into the Missouri

No chattering rapids here
No snowbridged chambers of sound
No sleeping mountains
Calving ice and snow into steep valleys

Here the muddy river muscles
Across the broad land
Powerful and dumb
Beneath the broad sky
Curving slowly through dacotah
Moving south
Heavy and brown

Here in Missouri
Near Parkville
And nearer the end of a life
From the bluff I look down
On a glinting bend in the river
At a bend in the universe
At a bend in time
And see a beautiful strange attractor

I see the sinusoidal hand of God

Jon Horton

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Jon Horton

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