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Arrive, my rival

Impatience veins my patience and
Our river is falling to summer—

Where there was only water, reeds reach up
And the forests I have paddled among
Will soon stand on their islands. I admit

There is joy in the waiting, too. Can you
Imagine another shade of green?
If time were not wearing my body,

If my suitors were not mosquitoes and ticks,
I could be—but arrive!—placid
As this temperate breathing evening

Unbar my love, Callisto

Banished bride of woods and rivers.
Long ago, I did ask you
To take my love for safekeeping

But I should have known you
Would have sent my love along
Two stars to the double star
Around which our heavens

Whirl slightly out of true.
Once my love saw this, she knew
What she wanted. She wants free,
And you have kept her long.

Unbar your beautiful stars.
I await my love, desirous.

Su Smallen is an editor, writing center director, and the author of four collections of poetry.

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