The first thing I ever saw die—a lamb that took ten
long minutes. Instead of rolling into the grass, her blood
pooled on the porch. My uncle stepped away
from the puddle, called it a good omen for the tomatoes
then lit a tiny black cigar. Years later I am still picking romas
out of my salads. The barbarism of eating anything
seems almost unbearable. With drinking however
I’ve always been prodigious. A garden bucket filled with cream
would disappear, and seconds later I’d emerge
patting my belly. I swear, I could conjure rainclouds
from piles of ash, guzzle down whole human bodies,
the faces like goblets I’d drain then put back in the cupboard.
So trust me now: when I say thirst, I mean defeated,
thirst. Imagine being the sand forced to watch silt dance
in the Nile. Imagine being the oil boiling away an entire person.
Today, I’m finding problems in areas where I didn’t have areas before.
I’m grateful to be trusted with any of it: the bluebrown ocean
undrinkable as a glass of scorpions, the omnipresent fragrant
honey and the bees that guard it. It just seems such a severe sort of
miraculousness. Even the terminal dryness of bone hides inside our skin
plainly, like dust on a mirror. This can guide us forward
or not guide us at all. Maybe it’s that forward seems too chronological,
the way the future-perfect always sounds so cavalier
when someone tells me some day this will all have been worth it.