Paul Willis

Panther Creek, your flow beneath
the highway bridge does not compare
to that between these hemlock,
cedar, and Douglas fir, not to mention
the alder slotted into your current.

Of course, there is less of you
the higher we climb, but a creek
is so much more itself
apart from the combustive talk
of cars and trucks and things that go
away before they think to arrive.

It has something to do with your mossy
cliffs, the turquoise tumble of your waters—
even the nettles along your bank,
nettlesome as they may be.
Most of all I like the way
you speak to us in your own language,
saying, and then saying again,
what comes naturally.

Ross Lake Natural Recreation Area