El Rio del Oso

by Larry Schug

What is the name of rain
when it fails to fall from a cloud

What do you call a river
no water flowing within its banks

having returned to the sky
or been swallowed by the earth

a braided channel of sand
evidence of singing water
or the promise of another song

What do you call a tear
before it has been cried

leaving the lake of your eye
flowing down the land of your face

absorbed by your shirt sleeve
your finger dabbing it dry

testimony of the heart
proof of a singing soul
covenant with life lived