wing dike at low water

II

And somewhere below the light bevel
of its watercourse an undercurrent
quarries through acres of sand, gouging out
a barge road in mute, invisible, in-
cessant bursts, which is how we imagine
conscience works, rivering the mind until
the mind’s capacities are shaped by it.

Sherod Santos, section II from “Wing Dike at Low Water” in The Pilot Star Elegies (W. W. Norton & Co., 1999)

Photograph: The Missouri River at daybreak (specific location and photographer not identified)

And yet somewhere below the light bevel
of its watercourse an undercurrent
quarries through acres of sand, gouging out
a barge road in mute, invisible, in-
cessant bursts, which is how we imagine
conscience works, rivering the mind until
the mind’s capacities are shaped by it.

Sherod Santos, section II of “Wing Dike at Low Water,” The Pilot Star Elegies (W. W. Norton & Co., 1999)