by Kate Fox
Heraclitus: You cannot step twice into the same river
You aren’t even the same person who stepped into your last bath.
Ouse, Ure, Esk, Wharfe, Derwent,
rolling past drinkers to proms, pregnancies, jobs, moves, marriages, retirements.
Kisses, letters, certificates and contracts go damp at the edges.
Smiles seemed wider in that old place; in summer; in 1973.
Houses you used to live in contain enough shed skin to make everyone you used to be.
If only the world was big enough to hold you all.
Ribble, Skell, Swale, Dearne, Aire.
Everyone in your family tree could be grown again from a single strand of hair,
called back to meet you; utterly strange and recognisable.
Hire a dysfunction room, marvel at pot pourri, Kit Kats and Chap Stick
at how none of you look like you’re from round here originally, not unless you were protozoa.
Nidd, Foss, Humber, Rother, Calder
gliding past with the true illusion of constant flow
escaping subtle digs about how they’re looking older
slipping by like seasons or stone. Not timeless or unchanging. Only slow.