Because it alters every other hue, start with

sky, perhaps described as powdered pastel

blue, thin and clear as windshield glass.


The tea-steeped river transports sediment

but from this angle deflects the pale sky, so

name the smooth parts platinum or silver.  


Continuous as tires ringing metal grates across

the bridge, convey the sound of white current

shoving hard on boulder heads and shoulders.


Portray, in foreground shallows, minnows  

flitting to and from an algae-tinted

tire silted in like an open mussel shell.


Trees on the far bank fan low sunlight and

droop darkest green just above the water. For

deeper shadows, layer words like charcoal. 


Plastic bags snagged in branches high and 

low flag former water levels and can appear 

in evening light to be white herons roosting.


Raymond Byrnes taught college English before joining the U.S. Geological Survey/NASA Landsat program, where he managed communications for over 30 years. Raised in Minnesota, retired in Virginia, his poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Typishly, Better Than Starbucks, Eclectica, Chest, Sky Island Journal, and Waters Deep: A Great Lakes Poetry Anthology.