KARSTEN TINDAL MEMORIAL
For Karsten by Ed Kameénui
A week ago, the young son of my
good friend from Minnesota
died in a car crash
in the deep crease of night
when fly fishing the corners
of the McKenzie is less safe.
The son, like father, a quiet warrior—
muscular, deferential, loyal,
gentle. In battle, like father, fierce,
quick footed and piercing.
Today, there’s a hole in the McKenzie
where the sweet water drains
listlessly but purposefully.
Those who are wise to rivers
know the peculiar sound
that comes from under the
hole—a gloomy rhythmic
resentful silence that pulls
anyone and anything near it
Old timers who fly fish the McKenzie
claim witness to slicks of grief that
pass as dark shadows on its surface
with no enduring trace in daylight.
River poets argue that rivers cleanse
and bind all in mind and matter.
In sleep, the same water source
that stirs the resentful silence of the McKenzie,
heals all—one small and uncompromised
droplet at a time.
My warrior friend from Minnesota does not fly fish,
but he waits for the sullen McKenzie
to wash and purify his bruised and aching hands,
without notice or retreat.