Father God, where are we going?
        the light is failing over the riverbanks
        and the willows are drowsing
        in the softening shadow;
        the swallows have flown back to their burrows
        and the egrets have gathered for nightfall
        as the river draws us deeper
        into the devouring night.

A circus glimmers in the distance,
        with floating wheels and electric lights
        a phantom fairground emerging
        from a reverie of mist and dance.
        echoes of delirious laughter
        waft to the silent river,
        and a man plunges into the waters
        and swims to the gleaming shore.
But when he reaches the glittering pier
        he finds himself among corpses
        of discarded tents and deserted stands.
        and when he turns to the river,
        he discovers the hour has passed:
        for the old man has vanished,
        and the river has turned to ash.

So tell me, Father God, where are we going?
        where does the river lead us,
        where will it reach by morning?
The old man is silent,
        and looks on into the night;
        then he leans into my ear and whispers:
        the river knows its path.

Daniel Shin is a senior in Quincy House studying Philosophy and Mathematics.