GVSU Fall Arts Celebration Poetry


This poem is called High Water. High water, what does the water want? Enters where it is not welcome, jacks up the
foundation uneven and splits the wood like a look. It rusts, it rusts, rusts the roof through. Drops by unannounced when your house a mess. Rifles through mamma’s drawers, papers,
borrows books for weeks and returns them water logged, dogged, without no note, or knock. Plucks baby pictures out their frames and
blurs all the names. Endless, oblivious, it apologizes and blesses
and barely says sorry. In a word, you could call it family. I am going to start with Relax. You’ve been warned, Relax, bad things are
going to happen. Your tomatoes will grow a fungus, and your
cat will get runover. Someone will leave the bag with the ice cream
melting in the car, and throw your blue cashmere sweater in the dryer. Your husband will sleep with a girl your daughter’s
age, her breasts spilling out of her blouse. Or your wife will remember she’s a lesbian,
and leave you for the woman next door. The other cat, the one you never really liked,
will contract a disease that requires you to pry open it’s feverish mouth every four
hours. Your parents will die. No matter how many vitamins you take, how
much Pilates, you’ll lose your keys, your hair, and your memory. If your daughter doesn’t plug her heart
into every live socket she passes, you’ll come home to find your son has emptied the
refrigerator, dragged it to the curb, and called the used appliance store for a pickup,
drug money. The Buddha tells a story of a woman chased
by a tiger. When she comes to a cliff, she sees a sturdy
vine and climbs halfway down. But there is also a tiger below. And two mice, one white, one black, scurry
out and begin to gnaw at the vine. At this point, she notices a wild strawberry
growing from a crevice. She looks up, down, at the mice. Then she eats the strawberry. So, here is the view, the breeze, the pulse
in your throat. Your wallet will be stolen, you’ll get fat,
slip on the bathroom tiles in a foreign hotel and crack your hip. You’ll be lonely. Oh, taste how sweet and tart the red juice
is, how the tiny seeds crunch between your teeth.

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