Qualta’s Paradise

by Taylor Jones

Green Creek by Jesseca P. Thomas
Green Creek
Photograph by Jesseca P. Timmons

I am here
up to my thighs in cold water
because I am not willing to wait
for the sun to come out
I am not willing to wait
for the wind to soften
I need to bathe in the river
at this turning point of summer
as new gears click into place
in the slow machinery of the seasons
making breathing painful
turning the air
hard as glass.

Time flows the swiftest through this thinnest of elements.
If only I could live in the river instead,
resisting the comforting pressure of the current.
Or carve me out of stone and let a tree grow around me.
If only I had seasons to spare
to be still.

But it is time.
Time to lean back,
fall beneath the surface into the bitter cold
and emerge, gasping,
into a new autumn.