by Shannon Baker
the water over a
enough, that’s how it went down.
just slipping, eyepairs away after
a hold, a sort of handshake, supposed
simple, restless, the slap-up sound of
stray neurons grope-grabbing, all the
air that got in the way.
i remember him saying, “i believed you knew
and understood the knowing.”
i remember my anger, disgusting, i thought
his gift of approval. letting me know that
i did in fact
know, was reallytruly
human after all.
caught in the hand of a mosstree, mostly
mudbones and mouthsalt,
i wrung my mind clean of
other people’s thunder. let
them nest noisily into
dirt. electricity seeds
in every creature humming hot, the brainburn
of aging, the slowing conversation
of one’s cells. it was clear
a single life should be sufficient.
the tree surely thought so.
i would not argue.
some ants crawled over my arm.
2 thoughts on “the water”
Phenomenal poem. Wondrous compound words: “eyepairs,” “grope-grabbing,” “reallytruly,” “mosstree,” “mudbones,” “mouthsalt,” “brainburn,” even “restless.” The first stanza, likening a waterfall to a handshake, is spectacular, with all the other things in there; in other words, not “easy enough.” The turn to the second stanza is a shock, from the natural to the personal: anger and disgust at another’s “gift of approval” (condescension) of the person’s simple (acceptable) ability to think. The third stanza, wow! “Caught” yet released from the handshake, “I wrung my mind clean of other people’s thunder”–what a phrase, which follows from the anger. i don’t know what it all means, but it seems to embrace a lifetime (“the brainburn of aging, the slowing conversation of one’s cells”) arriving at “a single life should be sufficient” bringing relaxation. I read “some ants crawled over my arm” not as creepy and evocative of death, but of the person’s attaching to nature (in the “handshake” of the waterfall and the “mosstree,” to the extent of becoming “mostly mudbones and mouthsalt”) a liberation from “other people’s thunder” (the “gift of approval” from the second stanza) into self-sufficiency. But there could be “easy enough” irony here. What a trip!
further uncompromise, brilliant french novel about moss and dandelion roots and their relationships.
i heard it twice in one day: “i feel like i’m walking on eggshells that don’t even exist around you.” i read this poem…i felt better- less ruthless about myself.