Who decides where a river starts? When are there enough
sources, strong currents and water wide enough for its name?
In Colorado, the Chama begins in smaller creeks and streams,
flows into New Mexico to form the Rio Grande, splitting Texas
and Mexico (who decided?) and moves deeper south. I think
a few of these thoughts by a creek on a beaming hot day,
as water rips by in rapids propelled, formed in mountains far above.
The water icy even in this summer heat. People grin
some false bravery. They sit in tubes and dip into the tide
and be carried away. I think of drowning. Of who sees water
as fun. Who gets to play in a heatwave. Who trusts
the flow. Migrants floating in the Rio Grande haunt me, so
I think of families tired of waiting, of mercy that never comes,
of taking back Destiny. The rivers must have claimed more
this year. Knows no metering but the rush of its mountain
source’s melt. A toddling child follows her father into water’s
pull. Think of gang’s demands, of where those come from. Trickles
of needs meeting form a flow of migrants. Think of where
it begins. Think of the current of history—long, windy, but
traceable and forceful in its early shapes.