Weathered hands, mid calf deep in
the water. Placerville, panning, keening
at stream silt edges for a glimpse of gold.
A flake, a niggly pebble that might show
a flash. Day after day, all day, screening
through ones fingers for that glimpse.
The dog’s pebbles screen through my
fingers, a whole tub full, a few grains
of salmon flavoring adhering to me
as I pan for a staple or two. Some
fell in when the bag split, and it
is the flash of dull silver that I seek.
Idiot work, all day or morning work,
we do what we need to do to find
what we need to find for the sake of
what matters to us. Nothing is above
or beneath honor. We do what we need
to do, and gladly.