POEM: Holding water

BY HELEN DOUGLAS

A small girl sitting on the ground with hands cupped. Holding water. Little Sisyphus in a cotton dress sits on the ground. Water makes its way through her cracked cup and falls to the ground.

She pulls in her ankles to hold the water that falls to the ground. Rich thick mud spreads a widening ring around her. Between her knees the water pools and sinks into the earth.

The sky across the flat earth goes clear to the horizon. The clear water precious in her hands. The water she holds in her cupped hands. She holds it and it falls. She is holding it. It falls.

Her legs the shores of a pond, the walls of a well that bears the water to the ground. It seeps into the earth. It seeps into the earth, the earth knows it and the ground becomes mud. Clear the water that muddies the ground.

She holds clear water in her hands, it pools between her legs, sinks beneath her and is received by the earth and the soil spools rich and thick around her. Thick wet earth. The still air. The clear sky. Small birdcall. Concentration, diffusion. She holds the water in her hands. She is learning her craft.