The Weight of Water

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by Kathryn Gwun-Yeen Lennon

On days when the wind in the leaves of aspen trees is the sea
this ancient ocean bottom
remembers the weight of water.

On those days, the sky remembers too, mimics
moods of waves
thunderclap black
whaleback blue
clouds skip like flying fish over whitecaps
chasing pirate ships towards reefy shores.

These rivers here are younger,
birthed from rock and ice
they know where they come from
but they are not afraid to wander
meadow forest mountain plain boreal forest peatland
to lay their cheek, chin, chest
into earth
to carve coulee
aquifer
oxbox lake
to carry fish frog otter
in their embrace

to give life.

Some nights, when the moon wishes it could swim
these rivers dream
of falling, of flying, of finding ocean.

But never did they dream
they would journey through cold pipe
that under pressure, they would be asked to blast through
ancient ocean bottom
asked to twist their tongues around heavy metal names
like methane
benzene
mercury
lead
cyanide

asked to hold naphthenic acids
send skyward
hydrogen sulphide.

They never dreamt
that we would forget their names
forget they are our lifelines, our veins
forget that without them,
our membranes
are nothing more than dust
and we are silent.

How did we forget that this body of water
is but a body of water?

 

 

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