The Well

 

Even the Salton Sea
could not resist

the most impossible of lures,
formed as all things

are formed in the world,
by happy accident,

filling its basin with the carefree
belief in the length

and strangeness
of one’s own life.

They say that when
the swell of decay

rose from shallow waters –
much as the shadow

rises from you,
billowing as a veil

at night
as you dream –

the inhabitants
of the sleepy shoreline

abandoned their homes
in tact,

left the cereal in its box,
the hat hanging on its hook –

with only the conviction
of heat and grace

to guide them,
an acceptance

that one thing
leads

always
to another.

But I no longer
want to speak

about such intermittent
waters,

how no one ever belongs
to another –

even the final
continent

in its marriage
to the sea –

and what do I know
about the rousing flood,

blessing
the basin’s mouth

at the end
of the long, dry summer –

that it had a life of its own,
although murky and gray

it believed in its own
insensible blue,

deep within itself,
the algae blooms

a thousand hands
opening and closing,

learning in time
to erase the shyness

from their tilting,
secret song.

What remains
when you stop collecting

stories,
so that you may live

inside of one
for awhile?

At last,
when the absence

will shake itself
loose

and lift
from my body,

I too
will satisfy

the natural
inclination

toward thirst,
steeping

in the
immense

landscape
of my life:

in the house
that I built,

in this
spacious heart,

in this incredible
wilderness.

– S. E. K.