The way through any puzzle
is to stop the sideways glances
and enter straight on at your own risk,
proud you wore boots
and ready for the individual,
complex and cautious
truthful with tears,
ready to wade
and tacitly afraid.

One doesn't need rules
any more than leaves need permission
to grace the water
in manic release,
give themselves to the torrent,
whether a river
an abundance of love.

The trouble with puzzles
is the loss of guidelines
when the skin meets the flow
and the true, just released,
hones the oar
before the boat is built.

There should be no thank yous in love,
but then it wouldn't be love;
thank you,
which is it?


Included in "Oustanding Poets of 1998:  The National Library of Poetry," edited by Melissa S. Mitchell, Angela C. Hughes, and Howard Ely.