Stopping at the locks

At Ice Harbor Dam I wait for boats, watch the iron gate lift as they enter the locks. Huge barges shimmy, inches from the edge, their metal hulls scraping cement. Sometimes small boats seek passage. Giddy, I gaze below as they tie to buoys that will rise with water. Readied, the rear gate closes on memories of river. The channel fills. I lean far over the edge, watch my reflection inch upward, hear my echo soften as water erases stone. When the boats are level, I call to their captains - Where are you from? Where are you going? until the front gate lifts and they sail from the locks up river.

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