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
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
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
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 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.
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
And darkness closes above her head.
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
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.