Questioning the Water

I filled a glass at the sink,
set it down on the counter
& watched it grow still.
What am I doing here?
I asked the water.
Which way should I go?
What color is sleep?
The water rose from the glass
as well as any genie
though it took its own
sweet time.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave's writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the "share alike" provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

21 Comments


    1. Thanks. I’m more inclined to think it’s clear, like water…

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  1. The ending was such a delightful surprise,and yet feels more and more true as it settles in.

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    1. If it’s true divination you’re after, yeah — I think bubbles would be key.

      Reply

  2. Delightful, Dave. I love the last four lines.

    I have a water poem on the way that occupies similar territory. I mention this solely to avoid future litigation.

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  3. Potable water is sometimes described as “sweet”–I’ve always found this interesting because, on another level of myth, we think of water as neutral.

    So, which is it? Sweet? Neut? Words for the same thing, depending on our mood?

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    1. Your question stirs a faint memory. I think I must’ve blogged about that sometime back in 2004, when all my pent-up opinions were spilling out. I probably said something like, “the sweetest water is that with the least taste.”

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    1. Have one for me too, Robb. It’s been too long since I’ve had anything alcoholic…

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  4. “Sweet” struck me as well. I think I’ve always welcomed water’s lack of sweetness, in fact, it’s lack of everything.

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    1. Water is such a good metaphor for — well, nearly everything. It’s like the universal solution.

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  5. “What color is sleep?” is such a good lead-in to the genie’s slow magic. I really like this poem.

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    1. Thanks. You might be amused to know that I actually dreamed that line, and wrote it down when I woke up. (I had been wondering what one might ask a glass of water the night before.)

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      1. You know, I just saw it from another angle: the color of sleep, being more understated and down-to-earth than the color of dreams, really signals (as the white-to-clear tap water does earlier) the later tension between the genie and evaporation.

        I was looking at it from just the color-leading-to-clear angle earlier.

        Reply

    1. It does when you’re exhausted, or otherwise ready to listen.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Reply

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