The Iowa River at Floodstage

Bonnie Manion

darkly fills all the space

between its banks, flows

thickly, quickly, steadily on,

divided only by the sunlight

flashing off its swift currents,

tongues and braids of flow,

each waving ribbon separate

but in its journey never alone.


Some strands glow brazen silver

as they flow, some are speckled

swirls of starlight flicking gold.

Some, braided with competing

currents, reflect a leaden light

weaving through muted strands

gray as slate.  Some currents

boldly splash and eddy where

they meet abutments, where they

brake and make a standing wake.


The surface braids and dimples

through hollows and wimples,

bumps along rapids, glides flat

pools.  Never pausing nor ever

stopping, racing waters follow

the same patterns, make the same

plaits in the same spaces, waves

of motion shaped by river bottom,

by the river’s inscrutable volume.

Main Location:

Iowa City, IA, USA