Did you think the river felt no pain?

There’s a harshness to it
stringency, a decree loud
as sirens:
Grow up!
Your so-called calling is a cozy lie
and must be tugged on,
until like the river
it reverses,

You draw your own future to yourself, it is
the only way,
oh— and it’ll hurt,
of course, did you think the river
felt no pain?
When it was forced into a fastflowing
adulthood, serving the needs of the city?
Yes, it missed being fed
by the great mother watershed.
(Was she always asking it to come home?)
Yes, it felt wrong, taking from Michigan, instead of giving,
but it had to be done.
Health and safety and such of course.

It won’t happen overnight—
locks to build, detonations, the most marvelous,
impossible control.

But soon you too will wrench
at the shrill sound of change,
as you sit in the driver’s seat
and navigate.