Two Poems

I. Bank Story

The river needed more room
and so it took a room
for itself along the water’s edge,
lolled porch-side in the downpour,
came up against the curved road
with its own proposal drowning out
theirs, until the river was a road
and the road a river
spreading through windows
like a liquid view, trees wavering 
on the surface amid clouds
and, after all, the dilatory sun 
drying the paper bedrooms and 
the rusted kitchen until, finally,
the crooked house returned
and the river, again homeless,
was back in its old place between 
the banks, washing itself on rocks.

II. Algae

A pond dies of too much life.
Of warmth, of light. 
What shouldn’t kill it 
does. Reflected trees
root and bloom; once real 
they can’t just come and go.
Our arms and faces ride
the slime forest, its food
our effluence, our past.
We would prefer a world without us
to dip our bodies in.
ELLEN KAUFMAN's collection, House Music, is forthcoming from Able Muse Press. A poem from that manuscript won the Southwest Review's Morton Marr Poetry Prize in 2012. She was a MacDowell Fellow in 2009.