Christmas Morning in a Creek Bed

After breakfast
dad leads me downhill from my childhood home
to where the creek broke its bed like a child outgrowing the cradle.

In black boots we dig deep to scar new lines in the soil as flood-
waters threaten to wash us away like the last dam of logs and rocks
now scattered downstream. His plan now to roll new stones
buried deep in the loamy forest to close the gap
with an unmoving wall.

We grunt, groan, and sweat, pry by rotten logs and break free
a boulder from the hemlock’s roots. We roll and pile inside
the water we want to slow.

As the pond fills above our buried cairn
I wonder what it is inside that forces men
to reroute around themselves.

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