The Waterfall

1 December 2013

Summer flays the valley,
the skinless blue of a sky with no air,
only distance, a vacuum in sharp focus.
Birds ignorant of the physics of flight
hang in the rawness, waiting for gravity to notice.
Sounds are magnified; their waves roar
along the length of the valley’s funnel,
a keen of pain or grief, I can’t tell.
The heat holds us with an invisible presence,
a paradox we can’t compute
as we gaze into this enamel void.

Then finally the waterfall
like the right answer.
A stone family of serious Olmec heads
piled on each others’ shoulders
as uncanny as Antarctic life.
The water finds its path
leaping brow to nose to chin,
gifting itself to the ground.
We lie in the pool, heat clinging to fine hairs
in tiny, desperate bubbles,
our breath heavy with the smell of green.
Staring upward, specks and filaments float
across hard aqueous blue.
I am a scientific god,
peering at the sky through the lens
of a divine microscope.

The pool shines as if the sky
had scraped against the valley’s bones,
the falls roar in place,
the laced fingers of trees stop it all
from sliding out of the frame, holding
this generosity of water
dislocated from its path to the sea,
reminding us that without
these jumbled threads of vintage rain,
the waterfall is nothing
but a thirsty cliff.

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