The Waterside

By | 1 February 2020

You do not want to be a monkey,
you say.
but there are facts, I tell you
to be faced—of anthropoidea
how we got here
by way of water
that it was the sea that made us naked
not the hunt
how our descent was anti-terrestrial
—an ascent, from the silt upwards
and that our hunger was for salt
not blood.

But there are things we prefer
to deny
the lateness of our rectitude
how defenceless we were
in our eternal infancy,
slicken and blubbery as seal cubs
that we swum before we spoke
our minds born of algae
and how we waded, heavy-bellied, maternal
through swamp-weed
to prize open shells with
the same blunt-fingered hands
you now interlace with mine
and how, when I lay them on you
wanting to lick the residual traces
of its brine
from your hairless flesh
I am in more parts animal.

But there are things it is easier
to forget
like how deep it drew us
how far out we went—
our second nature
the ease with which one can rise
to two feet
and walk away
from the water.

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