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FURTHER READING
Poems by Elizabeth Willis
The Steam Engine
Essays by Elizabeth Willis
Who Was Lorine Niedecker?
Poems about Beginning
At the Very Beginning
by Katie Peterson
Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio
by James Wright
How to Read a Poem: Beginner's Manual
by Pamela Spiro Wagner
In the Beginning
by Anne Pierson Wiese
It Was The Beginning Of Joy And The End Of Pain
by Gillian Conoley
Or to Begin Again
by Ann Lauterbach
Poem Beginning with a Line by John Ashbery
by Randall Mann
The Rider
by Naomi Shihab Nye
You Begin
by Margaret Atwood
Poems about Rivers
A Musical Instrument
by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
A Thought of the Nile
by Leigh Hunt
Afton Water
by Robert Burns
From a Bridge Car
by Elias Lieberman
In Passing
by Stanley Plumly
Man in Stream
by Rosanna Warren
Oarlock, Oar (Y, W, V, U, F)
by Katrina Vandenberg
Part of Eve's Discussion
by Marie Howe
Rückenfigur
by Susan Howe
Somewhere between here and Belen
by Jay Wright
South
by Jack Gilbert
Summer Night, Riverside
by Sara Teasdale
The Other Side of the River
by Xi Chuan
The Outlet (162)
by Emily Dickinson
Vague Cadence
by Geoffrey G. O'Brien
Written on the Banks of the Arun
by Charlotte Smith
More Like This
On Poetry and Craft [excerpt]
by Theodore Roethke
All She Wrote
by Harryette Mullen
An Exhortation
by Percy Bysshe Shelley
Anybody Can Write a Poem
by Bradley Paul
Dawn
by James Laughlin
Dear J.
by Kazim Ali
Epistle: Leaving
by Kerrin McCadden
Friend,
by Jean Valentine
From Trance Notebook #2 [nerdy questions about exact pitch]
by Wayne Koestenbaum
Hospital Writing Workshop
by Rafael Campo
In Portraits in Seasons
by Danielle Pafunda
In the old days a poet once said
by Ko Un
Inert Perfection
by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Language
by W. S. Merwin
Leo Said
by Eileen Myles
Light (an Ars Poetica)
by Michael Cirelli
Lines on Nonsense
by Eliza Lee Follen
Night School
by Micah Ballard
Night Theater
by Meena Alexander
Poetry
by Alfred Kreymborg
Poetry
by Marianne Moore
Poetry
by Amy Lowell
Poetry
by Monica Ferrell
Poetry is
by Emilio Villa
Potentially Interesting & Secretly Devastating
by Tina Brown Celona
Q & A
by Terence Winch
Render, Render
by Thomas Lux
Scandal
by Lola Ridge
Sky Burial
by Ron Koertge
so you want to be a writer?
by Charles Bukowski
Te Deum
by Charles Reznikoff
The Bear
by Galway Kinnell
The Gift
by Chard deNiord
The Language of Love
by Rodney Jones
The Novel as Manuscript
by Norman Dubie
The Politics of Narrative: Why I Am A Poet
by Lynn Emanuel
Time Study
by Marvin Bell
To a Young Poet
by Edna St. Vincent Millay
What He Thought
by Heather McHugh
what it means to be avant-garde [excerpt]
by David Antin
While Writing
by Noelle Kocot
Why Poetry Can Be Hard For Most People
by Dorothea Lasky
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Ephemeral Stream

 
by Elizabeth Willis

This is the way water 
thinks about the desert.
The way the thought of water 
gives you something 
to stumble on. A ghost river.
A sentence trailing off
toward lower ground.
A finger pointing
at the rest of the show.

I wanted to read it. 
I wanted to write a poem 
and call it "Ephemeral Stream"
and dedicate it to you
because you made of this 
imaginary creek
a hole so deep 
it looked like a green eye 
taking in the storm, 
a poem interrupted 
by forgiveness.

It's not over yet.
A dream can spend 
all night fighting off 
the morning. Let me
start again. A stream 
may be a branch or a beck, 
a crick or kill or lick,
a syke, a runnel. It pours 
through a corridor. The door 
is open. The keys
are on the dashboard. 
About this poem:
"An ephemeral stream flows intermittently or seasonally, leaving a record of water, though there's rarely water flowing in it. You can find them etched in the arid landscapes of the West and Southwest. I learned this term while walking with friends in the hills near Ucross, Wyoming."

—Elizabeth Willis






Copyright 2014 by Elizabeth Willis. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on January 2, 2014. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.
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