Lament

Everyone is always having feelings, drowning
in them, or being overcome. They come to me

and ask me to listen as they pour them out
of a great ewer. Just listen, they cry.

Just listen; that's all we want you to do.
But it's not possible to just listen and not

fold from the neck down, to double over
at the waist sometimes, to feel the syllables

rise through the throat wanting only release.
I don't remember what myth held the story

of women waiting to receive any kind of bad
news at the mouth of the river or at the hem

of the sea: only that they stood there, foam
rising above their ankles, arms crossed

and hugging their shoulders; the pitiless sun
pouring fire on their heads, the sand burning.

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