Once upon a time, I threw out the script and started over. People do this every day. We imagine what’s possible and make a choice.

A small colony of cliff swallow mud nests

clings under the concrete bridge

where 267 passes over T. D. Judah’s transcontinental dream;

where on a cool evening in 2009,

I run beside the Truckee along a brief stretch of its tumble

from Lake Tahoe 140 miles to Pyramid Lake,

through a Paleozoic sea,

ancient volcanos, glaciers—


eight months ago, I broke my left femur at the hip;

yesterday, I ran 2.5 miles for first time since rehab;

thirty-six years old, chronic writer’s block,

and a marriage ending after 12 years—


In three million years Lake Tahoe will be a meadow,

according to someone’s reckoning

and Truckee River, who knows.


Late August, those cliff swallows have

gone to South America February, March,

they’ll return to these nests, time over time or sometimes not.


Cars and trucks hum along, summer,

winter, way up on the highway—


engine busted, heart broke open, impossibly, I feel possible,

running by the river,

out of time—



Photo: I didn’t have a photo of the mud nests under Truckee River Bridge. These are cliff swallows in Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge in Utah. Credit: Birdchick.com.