Mirande Bissell

In the Big Thompson River Valley

My son is twelve and barefoot near the headwaters
of the Rowe Glacier’s summer melt. We’re here.

We lived. Mud cools our feet, and is soft. The river
bends, and we follow it along the meadow. Its speed

blurs the deep boulders. Flooded grasses bow
downstream, lit and green and waving.

Hours drift like silt here. Everything moves,
and we move with it. There is no comparing

enormities. The boreal toad is its own immensity
where glaciers grind the rusted ridges that ring us

and sink to valleys. A bull elk pauses
in the tall grass of the basin where goldfinch

gather alder seeds and spider silk for late
summer nests. Water moves mica-flecked dirt

grain by grain. Thistledown floats so lightly by,
it changes the way I think of slow.



Mirande Bissell lives and works in Baltimore, Maryland, where she enjoys hiking in the Patapsco River valley and learning to make crêpes. You can find her work in Stone River Poetry Review, Meridian, Mississippi Review, and other journals. She recently completed her MFA at Bennington College.


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