©Christian Knoeller, 2013


for Halima and Abraham

Its surface is burnished with the dull luster of a stone that fell
from the sky. Who can say how many generations ago?

Inside are geodes of time.

Some believe that wherever we walk the same river flows beneath
our feet, some languages so old they point to the source.

If you swim this river, leave a fire burning quietly behind to help
you find the way home.

What shines brightest? The embers of a former world or leaves
of the water lily climbing a ladder of light?

The world swirls past yet the stone stands still. Could this be
the place our stories go when they are not being told?


©Christian Knoeller, 2013
Christian Knoeller, BAWP ’91, is Associate Professor of English at Purdue.  His research interests include teaching Native American and Midwestern literature, especially with reference to cultural and ecological memory. His first collection of poems, Completing the Circle, was awarded the Millennium Prize from Buttonwood Press. He has received both the Midwestern Heritage Prize for Literary Criticism (2007) and the Gwendolyn Brooks Prize for Poetry (2011) from the Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature and is immediate past President of the organization (SSML).  He also coordinates the Native American Literature section of the Midwest Modern Language Association (M/MLA).  His essay on Louis Erdrich appeared this spring in ASLE’s Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and the Environment and another  on John James Audubon and environmental history will appear in this summer’s issue of the Journal of Ecocritism.

One Response to “The Same River by Christian Knoeller”

  1. Christian, exquisite poem, so compact and rich.
    “What shines brightest? The embers of a former world or leaves
    of the water lily climbing a ladder of light?” Startling and rare.
    Thank you, Marty Williams

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