Friday, July 22, 2011

Water, part 1.


It's too long after midnight to be awake, but who can sleep in so much water? I lay awake in the darkness composing poetry in my head, enjoying the comfort of my bed and the sound of summer rain falling outside the open windows. Summer: I taste it in the dark, linger on it.

Tonight I walked away from a party and came home to this big empty house, appreciating its silence, my contentedness to be alone. I boiled water for tea, and while it was heating up I stepped outside, walked down the slope of what passes for a backyard and closed in our 12 hens for the night. In the beam of my headlamp a colorless mist swirled, the water collecting in the air, catching on my breath. I felt raindrops gather in my hair.

I had to fill the chickens' water bucket and, in the midst of all that water falling from the sky, it seemed a common sort of miracle that the hose nonetheless sprung to life. I could feel the water leap through it, from the spigot to the nozzle, and when I directed its spray toward the metal bucket a different kind of mist rose, hitting me square in the face, smelling like childhood summers, garden hose. My skin and mouth drank it in. After, walking back toward the glowing windows of the house, wet clover slapped at my bare shins and clung to me like velcro. Leaves already made of water and dripping with excess, more than they can hold; gleaming, slippery, ragged leaves.

In the kitchen, I pour my tea. A small puddle, dripped slowly from the underbelly of the sweaty fridge, has collected in the center of the sagging floor and I wipe it up. Then I decide to take a bath. Water pours from this faucet too—city water, not as clean as it looks, perhaps, but a marvel nonetheless, that water pours from the sky here, seeps from the ground, fills the vascular tissue of plants and forms puddles, and still it gushes from our metal spouts whenever we turn the handle. I sit in the steaming bathtub and drink my tea and watch my stomach rise and fall in the calm pool.

My life sometimes seems as simple as a bunch of stories about water. The presence or absence of water tells its own stories, and they flow from me without warning on nights when I should simply close my eyes and let the drumbeat of rain hitting the roof rock me to sleep.

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