But does the water love us back

(next section in this series; a partly found poem)

Written on water: what describes a debt that will
in all likelihood never be paid back.
Meaning when someone borrows money or goods you sigh,
knowing that may be the last you’ll see of it.
Meaning a ledger of blue-green lines, always moving.
Meaning erasure; meaning hiding or wavering.

That joke about how many islands there are,
depending on whether it’s high or low tide.
If it could never be written in the first place,
what is it that’s erased?
Should you leave town, change your name?
Write on the envelopes that come
in the mail: Return to sender?

60-70% of the body’s weight is water.
12 gallons per day sustains the average person’s
water needs— including washing, bathing, cooking.
In third world countries, more than half
the population has no access to clean water.

It is well known that one could die
of thirst.There are also cases of death
from water intoxication.
In 2007 a woman died after drinking more
than 6 liters of water in 3 hours.
It was for a contest called “Hold Your Wee
for a Wii,” sponsored by a radio station.
The prize would have been a Nintendo game console.

Mostly women and children spend more than an aggregate
of 200 million hours per day collecting water for their families.
One pail in each hand. A length of cloth twisted into a ring
to help carry a jug or basin on the head.
Training for these things can start as young as 5.
There are dances involving the balancing of glasses
of water on each open palm, and one on the head.
Also, fire might substitute for water—
a votive, a flaming bowl.

The cameras are waiting.
Don’t spill one drop.

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