Sticks

My bother and I would take sticks
and throw them in the mountain creek
and run alongside our sticks as they went
through the swirly eddies
and the scary whitewater,
the terrible falls
and the long wobbly runs,
sometimes disappearing in the foam,
sometiems blending in with fish
and other desires,
watching them with devotion and glee,
shouting or murmuring encouragement,

until they came out into the deep pool
where we would pluck them up like God
and congratulate them and thank them
for having borne us places we couldn't go.

I looked at my brother's back
as we went up the draw to do it again,
his little hands, his legs, his head,
with all those years ahead of us.