Don’t Badmouth

smallmouth, largemouth,
warmouth, redhorse suckers,
sturgeon, and darters all
lurk in greater numbers
than they did before?
This is because adults
like you saved the fish
and restored the river.
They assigned responsibility,
which is different than blame. 

Still, there’s tearing down
to do. From the headwaters
where you found handfuls
of hawk feathers one
rainy day to the sands
where it feeds the big lake,
one hundred and twenty-eight
dams interrupt the river’s
slapping. The glide-riffle-
run-pool patterns 

like your impressions
swirling into critical
tributaries of thought
need seasonal debris, shade,
and acreage. Your mind
and the rivers are one;
clip one, clip the other.
Speak to the future.
The Great Lakes grow
out of your mouth.

Photo by pure julia on Unsplash.

Jacob Boyd

Jacob Boyd grew up in Holt, Michigan and works in a French bakery in Milwaukee. His chapbook, Stilt House, was selected by Heather McHugh for the Emrys Press Award. Other work of his has appeared or is forthcoming from Bracken, Cutleaf, Iron Horse Literary Review, Poetry Daily, RHINO, and elsewhere. Connect with him on Word Press.