From this battered bluff on a violent spring day, I can’t calm or curse the river. It won’t be coaxed to return what it has taken. Earlier, it swallowed the islands below the Arcola bridge, pulling them into its greasy body along with the waiting nests, disturbed sand and the water plantain just beginning to unfold. Two summers ago, trumpeter swans colonized these unnamed slips of land. From this same tangled bluff, I watched the swans descend under the span of the bridge and fold around the trestle— a single wave of white wings— alighting softly like tufted seeds. Cygnets swarmed from shaggy nests to muck the silt in the shallows for duck potato and crustaceans. Their boisterous calls rose like laughter from the green hush of the grass. A muddy foam swirls above the vanished land in the gray emptiness beneath the bridge. The river is the interloper here. The land will rise—stripped and new— when the flood subsides. Even if the swans do not return, this dirt has work to do.