Ice Breaks in Mountain Stream
River grunts and groans, as blocks of ice crack,
break apart, crush together, shatter like old timbers.
Spurred on by deep current, water struggles to be free
of long dark winter nights, bitter cross breezes,
the hungry chatter of non-migratory birds.
Movement is hatched in tiny chips that lap against
brown grass vole holes, to the splintering edges
of the more defiant blocks anchoring mid-stream.
Geese alight on banks, honk a melting chorus.
A hiker stands atop a rocky overhang,
a back-packed guide post for the warming sun.
More watery ballast, the river speeds downstream.
What is not fuel is detritus in its way.
JOHN GREY is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in the Tau, Studio One and Columbia Review with work upcoming in Naugatuck River Review, Examined Life Journal and Midwest Quarterly.