Stutter once, and there’s the
same water speaking volumes
between willow branches.
It leaves the same mark on a
cracked hand, repeats itself
in the perfect circles of cups
scooped from red clay.
Stutter once, and it dribbles
its familiar cool line from
lip to belly. It breaks out of
darkness at those places where
and becomes uncertain.
Wa-a-tar , said the army breaking
from a dry pass and seeing the
ocean wedged blue between hills.
Wa-a-tar , as they lay at the
margins of a river, supping to the
babble of dry reeds.
Wa-a-tar , to the woman at the well,
one hip jutting to hold the curve of
a jar, the other holding her baby.
Hold out your cup. Hold out your hand,
cracked palm uppermost, and she would
pour you such a quantity of longing.
Such pure beauty.
Stutter once and we are there:
one of the king’s daughters,
walking home among the dragonflies
bearing life in both arms.
From The Inhabited Initial (AUP, 1999)
© Fiona Farrell