Water Study

The women carry bottles and pails, 
earthen jugs that swing from belts
around their hips. They pump water up
from the rusted well, its copper taste
beating against stone then coating
the insides of their mouths.

This is the taste of wealth, they tell
their children: green as algae, rich
with minerals and the sediment of life
after life long before you. Be thankful.
When the taps gape with foul rumors
of hot air, you learn to pray

for rain. Every ear can cup
part of the ocean. Snails wash
the walls of their spiraled houses;
the reeds are efficient at up and down,
in and out. And we, running around
with upturned mouths and faces. Take

a spoonful of broth laced with
mushroom spores, spiked with one sinew
clinging to an oily bone. Close your eyes.
The fronds in your chest rattle from
long dryness then exhale as slowly
as curtains threaded with mist.

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