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Unimaginable Narrow Estuaries

Ash and Dust Down River

The Book of Common Prayer

tells us it’s all ash and dust. Yet we know

in our saliva that life begins in wetness,

swamp and muck, hot breath,

mouth full of watery moans,

slippery fingers and tongues, oceanic

crashes, explosion of semen

into dark fallopian creeks, that viscous

egg sac, rush of amniotic fluid, the bloody

crowning, vernix and red streaked

plasma clinging to the wailing newborn

sliding into humid air,

an amphibian at the breast,

milk dribbling down the chin, wet

diapers, dripping nose, rivulets of tears

flowing down the river

of dreams all the way

to the end, as if there is an end to dreams

in airless wooden boxes passing through

flames or disappearing

in earth, dry and sandy, rich and loamy,

it doesn’t matter, water

always prevails, dark clouds floating

across the sky, rains flooding

thirsty plains, seeping into

cracks becoming underground aquifers,

pooling in deep crevasses of the dripping

planetary soul as we paddle

unimaginable narrow estuaries of eternity,

bending back willow

branches, leaning over gunwales, reaching

down beyond any arm’s length

into the steamy muck, handfuls

of life dripping through our cupped fingers

—SL, Port Royal, SC, January 2023

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