Clear Water ~ Julie L. Moore

They walk their Lab on McMillan Road,
                                    the limbs of their lengthy marriage pulled
            from every joint,
                        every step, a monumental mission.

Even the dog seems to sense something’s wrong,
                                    as she stays close, letting the leash
            lag. The husband pauses long,
                        trying to think of something positive to say,

practice in praise their counselor has advised,
                                    when a brown figure startles them with its sudden
            forward motion,
                        then dives into the nearby stream.

As they approach the creek,
                                    they see the beaver
            beneath the surface,
                        gliding with such ease

no noise, no aftermath
                                    of turbulence, no wake follows—
            if the water
                        weren’t clear, they’d never know the animal was there.

Maybe they’d all like to jump in—
                                    the dog for the glory of the swim,
            the husband
                        for the hope of cleansing,

the wife for the progress of her body
                                    toward something else,
            away from this road
                        they’ve all been treading.