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Water

when the rain fell that day,
the streets were streaked
with oil slicks
splaying in amoeba-trail fractals
and running into gutters
like let rainbow blood

and the sky collected its moisture
from its many private reserves—

you shared with me the riddle
your ancestors passed down in secret—
if I solved it, you told me,
I would understand
everything—
it will sound too easy,
but wait, you warned me—
soon I’ll realize
that life itself
is happening
solely for this mystery

so I observed the clouds first—
since that’s where water came from,
but they told me to look to the ocean.
The ocean refused to answer,
crossing its arms against the rocks
as it whispered its longing for rivers.
And the rivers spoke
of the bodies of creatures,
who opened their mouths and said nothing.

How little I could learn
after all my questioning
of this thing that fills the bellows of the world
and ushers the sprawl of life—
weaving through streets under hidden sewers,
freezing in the blue-green Arctic
and feeding grains and flowers,
falling from mountains in cascades
and trickling through phosphor-lit caves,
resting dormant in underground wells
and fading like wadis in the Sahel—
you asked me the secret of water,
and I thought long and hard
about plumbing,
thirst
and nature,
and in the end,
arrived only at silence

and then the rain fell that day—
a sudden downpour
tickling my tongue,
drowning the streets in a sudden answer
of yes
grace
and cleanliness,
aligning with my heartbeat
and starting everything anew—

there is nothing that cannot be cleansed
and nothing holy but this:
the spirit of flux,
the bending touch of forgiveness
trickling in through all of us,
a universal source of data
connecting all our veins
like the secret spread of a delta

flowing helplessly and constantly
into a single ocean
no matter what we do to stop it.

You cannot separate
good from evil—
or water from time and spirit.
Filth is an experiment
doomed to fail
as long as the rivers
hear it.

© Sarah Noack 2008

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