fifteen years later
I haven’t forgotten
how sky defeats buildings
and the city falls away
as you walk out over the river

a last sense of the time
when the whole horizon
here lay flat and clear and
brown water ran green and
spawned a people on its banks

with every step
the distance since I last was here
falls away like the city

ahead a young man
stands staring down
into the flow of dreams
that from here I can see
had already begun bringing him
all his life to come

right then
after days of the most dismal rain
the sun bolted an opening in the clouds
so hard
the stone flower of London shuddered

and it was now
a man in the middle
who looked down in the blinding light
to see that all his days had penetrated love
no deeper than his eyes the muddy Thames below

just as quick
the sun is gone again but
its afterspot endures

reminding me that time
and rivers run together

cities grow around them
like lives that stream across
the bridges that float above them

1986