The road wasn’t as hazardous then,
when I’d walk to the steel guardrail,
lean my bendy girl body over, and stare
at the cold creek water. In a wet spring,
the water’d run clear and high, minnows
mouthing the sand and silt, a crawdad
shadowed by the shore’s long reeds.
I could stare for hours, something
always new in each watery wedge—
a bottle top, a man’s black boot, a toad.
Once, a raccoon’s carcass half under
the overpass, half out, slowly decayed
over months. I’d check on him each day,
watching until the white bones of his hand
were totally skinless and seemed to reach
out toward the sun as it hit the water,
showing all five of his sweet tensile fingers
still clinging. I don’t think I worshipped
him, his deadness, but I liked the evidence
of him, how it felt like a job to daily
take note of his shifting into the sand.