Poems of Water
We ride through the sawgrass, the only humans for miles,
as evening glistens in the shallow water,
and thousands of white birds
and gray birds
and black birds
land in the mangroves
to roost for the night.
We talk and stay silent at once as we ride
and imagine wading into the grass
through knee-deep water
until we were far enough
that everyone we’d ever known, everyone we’d loved
had forgotten us. And if we sat down in the water
until our clothes fell away, and we sang
to each other like the breezes across the tall grass,
going nowhere, and the minnows nibbled our bodies
so gently it felt like a new kind of love,
what could we say to the shadows waiting for us,
arms crossed and scowling, as though they owned our darkness?
The names we’ve never spoken, that define us to ourselves
like the rhythm of a river caught inside a stone
smoothed by that river, as it falls toward the sea.
In some other life, I wove grasses and lay down.
In some other life I made a nest, and slept
dreaming like a river, as it slides toward the sea.
How many years did we search to find our lives?
How many years do we have before we leave?
The singing of a river as it falls toward the sea
is a mind without thoughts, pure being, like the breeze
that wakes in your attic, or underneath your bed
and stirs up the dust, while you’re thinking of the sea
and hugging your wife, who’s dreaming in a language
that doesn’t have words yet, and gleams in her eyes
when she wakes in your arms, smelling faintly of the sea
and sunlight in the breeze as it moves through the bedroom
then back out the window, like life itself must leave
the body that held it, or like a wave far out at sea . . .