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The Love of Water

John Reibetanz
From:   Afloat, Brick Books, 2013.

All nature, from the crag windbreakered in granite
that melts into the nuzzling of the clouds' wet snouts,

to the motes of grit that rise up every morning
and dance in a fountain over the windowsill,

all nature wants to be water. Curled tongues of fire
and sharp tongues of wind stutter and lisp through forests,

longing for the fluency of streams. Clays trapped in
marble fifty million years ago still practice

ripple and purl in rehearsal for the aeon
that will free their liquid hearts, Virginia creeper

clambers on splay-fingered hands up walls and treetrunks
to throw itself down in cascading sprays, even

heaven seeks out lakes where its unfrozen double
pulses. Still more besotted, water dotes on the rest

of nature. Rain, the sky's gift of spirit, so pure
a distillate of blue it abstains from colour,

falls all over the earth, and snowflakes leave unique
designs they've spun their lives into, coming undone

to kiss the same ground the river's whitest water,
charging seaward, turns inside out to wave back at.

Starving for love, the pilgrim waterdrop shivers
under its hood of light, dwindles to mist, and slips

into crevasses between crumbs of soil, to rise
as breath through root-hairs and be at one with the trees.

Or with you, for water also loves the nature
that is human. Kissing lips, then tongue, it races

down throat-rapids, threads through bone into your very
marrow and, in a blush of passion, spills over

and floods the heart's chambers scarlet. Your smitten heart
loves back, a lifetime of embraces fluttering

like eyelids when they caress the film of water
pressing against your lenses. You look through them at

a dead tree leaning across a stream. The bleached trunk
so yearns to become water, it has given up

branches and bark in working its way from cedar
to drift. Now pain puts on a coat of warm water

and runs down your cheek. Like the ocean that loved all
nature into first life, it kisses you with salt.

John Reibetanz's works copyright © to the author.

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