In winter, under crowns of curved ice,
you trade liquid for solid in the cold, cold air.
In warm summer, you're the laughing white water,
tickler of toes, leaping home of speckled trout.
Rushing, cleansing, each place a small volcano of water
within shape of stone and rush of air.
Deep cold waters from the quiet Earth,
the source a cavern of crystals akin to this white creek.
Santeetlah, you pour down on us from forever,
white jets long to the finale at Santeetlah Lake.
You are a carrier. You carry leaves of autumn, gold and blood-red,
pine needles, galax, speckled trout,
fragrant mushrooms, eggs of all kinds,
rhododendron blooms in spring.
Babies of yours lodge here and there, wedged along the shore,
changing your shape as you change theirs.
Cold and white, the rushes sweep the stones below, and me above.
I'm but a stone here beside you.
In my hair is swift spray, smelling of ice water, galax and laurel.
Crawdads and minnows play "hide and seek" between my fingers.
My spine is the long stone of your vitality,
icy fluid whose leaps make me dance.
Annelinde Metzner copyright 2002