Rather carried down alive to wondrous depths, where strange shapes of the unwarped primal world glided to and fro before his passive eyes; and the miser-merman, Wisdom, revealed his hoarded heaps; and among the joyous, heartless, ever-juvenile eternities. . .

Chapter 93, The Castaway

She knew there was a crack somewhere down the pipe.

But it is hard to know the size of cracks

six feet under.

Yes, she knows it as she presses her palm to the handle and turns

Clockwise, right?

She still has to stop and think

To  close her eyes and picture

the direction of the clock’s hands as they turn.

Her wistful wish is to out run them

or even to edge just a step ahead

and grab one moment

to lean back and repose on their approach,

instead of  forever choking

on the dust of them.

And so she turns the knob

knowing

there is a crack somewhere down the line.

Does it surprise her when the pipe stares back at her

dry as the scarred-over eye socket of a

cyclops?

Again, clockwise

Down the line the water is set loose

rages down the pipe and

seeing its chance

slams the crack head on.

blossoming in pulses

blood into the earth.

The water knows the metal will fatigue,

cease its impotent attempt to shape

and control

and direct

and then the pipe will

rip itself open

to deliver an ocean into earth’s waiting compost,

half decomposed strawberry hulls and apple skins,

a million unidentified bones.  This is what the water feeds.

Earth will use her thirst to draw the water out and carry it to the children on her back

the hibiscus and sage and maples which he planted for her.

His wife who stands, fingers draped against the the handles cool grooves. . .waiting

waiting to feel the flow travel out across her fingers.

She turn it harder.  Clockwise again.  It is clockwise, right?

She has  fed the water’s escape

the crack  blown wide open

the water races to all the roots which strech to drink it in.

Verdant and unruly children leap to meet the elixir’s kiss.

The wife looks  over her shoulder and she can see

the children her husband  has “given her”

though they both know nothing is given, but in tribute to the earth.

The smoke tree which blossoms its signals to the sky,

the white barked possom haw

who drapes her white limbs come winter

in strands upon strands of rubies.

Theirs is a marriage where it is understood there are things

that take precedent over their own thirsts and passions.

Over

her

thirsts and passions.

But now it is spring and Demeter’s child has returned to help,

Penelope dances in clouds that shadow the lawn

Comes on winds that pull and bend the tops of the maple trees in

an impassioned invitation to dance.

The husband reasons that since it is time to tend to their own thirst,

then the pipe must have healed itself.

He has so little patience when she tells him

it takes time.

She is trying,

but there is no water making it through–

She is parched.

She knows the water will not reach her.

And the earth,

no longer  in need

has sunk the water deep into the clay.

Into the rot and hummus which is

Shiva’s dance of life into death into life.

The swamp greets the touch of her foot

swallows her

And darkness closes above her head.

But still,

how curious,

she does not lose faith that her husband will come before it is too late.

He will come and pull her from this swallowing undertow

and pull her safe up onto the earth’s surface

Roll her to him and hold her

tight.

He will come, she thinks,  as in the closing patch of light she sees

the maples leaves reaching out to take

the wind’s invitation to dance.

And it he does not,

He did give her this life.

He did

give

her

this.

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