GOING BACK

There is a river
in the distant far away
running tranquil waters
like a singing echo bouncing
from the mountain fringe.
Birds rest on dangling branches
of shady trees
chirping messages I used to hear
while calves, no bigger than a lion,
drink distractedly from
the frothy edge.
Clouds stand suspended
from the blue sky
like hot air balloons
in a country fair.
Grass as verdant as
viridian green can be
carpet the undulating hills
bringing a silent contrast
to the fluid sound
that keeps them fresh
and tender as children’s cheeks.

In this landscape
I once stood rejoicing
like the ants and beetles
and the birds and calves
with whom I shared that riverbed
–those soft hills.
But I grew up
and moved away
and lost track of those days.
And now, I don’t know
if the river is still there,
if the trees were cut,
if the hills perished
under a tractor blade.
I try to guide myself
by the clouds above,
but they keep moving
and shifting their shape
and I keep getting older with
every passing day.

Saúl Balagura Apr. 2012