Holly Day

Words of Wisdom Concerning Water

 

You can never see your reflection in water pooled in the palms 

Of your own hands. Try it. It’s impossible. I think

Your hands would have to be as deep as oceans and as wide as canyons 

For your face to show up in the water you’ve cupped in your hands. 

 

There are myths about people falling into the water after falling in love

With their own reflections, that the face they saw peering out at them 

From the rocky depths of fish-fouled water was so fucking beautiful 

That they just had to try to kiss it, but no, I don’t believe it

 

No one could be that stupid, to not know what their own face looked like

To have not seen their reflection a thousand times before 

In dirty run-off ponds, in a wooden bowl filled with still soup,

In a TV cop’s mirrored sunglasses. I just don’t believe it.

 

If it’s cold enough that the water pooled in your hands begins to freeze solid, 

You should go inside. You’ll catch your death from that kind of cold. 

If it evaporates from exposure to the wind and the heat

You should get more. You can’t have too much water

On a day like that.

She Goes

 

The wings stretch out and pull at your skin 

as though they’ve always been there, flap. 

Practice moving them again and feet 

leave the ground. Feet never really belonged 

on the ground, anyway, this is the way it’s supposed to be

 

now, one toe still dragging circular, twitching trails 

through the dirt as if tethering the body to the ground, 

still, an anchor, reality. 

 

First the wings and now the skin. You crawl through 

the hole in the top of your head, pulling the new wings 

after you as you split the tired, old body that has held you 

to the ground for so many useless years. There is 

so much of the world left to explore, so many places 

you could not see from the ground. Let’s start with 

the tops of the trees, the hidden hollows of clouds, 

the arc in the middle of the rainbow. There’s a reason 

birds work so hard to fly. The view from here 

is more beautiful than you could ever imagine.

 

This is how you were always meant to be, I say 

over and over as I stroke your cold, pale hand. You 

were always meant to be a butterfly, a dragonfly, 

an iridescent midge dancing in a beam of sunlight. 

What Remains of the Day

 

I don’t want to be here, curled in ice and snow, dried out

for future generations to find, a horrifying discovery

of some soul-seeking hiker, a tragic story to play out

in museums for wide-eyed children. I don’t want

 

to be found here, like this, a mouse in a clump

of dried mud and stiff grass, huddled in a concrete

cistern, pressed against a real door in a false wall

waiting out a storm that won’t end in time, eyes closed tight 

 

against a maelstrom of glittering sparks just outside

the ghastly hue of burning buildings and rolling fog

the thunder of gunpowder exploding in showers of metal 

and clay, sharp bits of glass and fire. 

THE COURTSHIP OF WINDS

© 2015 by William Ray