Photo by Alma Ortman

I sit in water that is always
too hot —
an unlearned lesson or wish,
as if the dark could be scalded
out of me —
only tonight I discover that
the bronze idol I’ve placed on a tray
stays very cold
to the touch
throughout,
so that when the heat
starts kicking familiar fears
into my pulse
and my body’s water becomes
an uncomfortable furnace,
simmering in not knowing
how
this earth
can even breathe
right now,
thinking I’d rather merge with the
melodies of this water…