The Water Ceased to Flow
Drink it slowly, she says
while checking my pulse and watching
the digital clock on the mantle.
I can’t help but admire her raw features.
Rugged in the unforgiving light a pinkish purple scar under her cheekbone
captivates my attention
My face contorts as I drink, the liquid spreading across
my tongue and she smiles and says
Putrid, I answer.
You’re doing well.
To myself I wonder what ‘well’ means.
A relative concept
to be sure
that I cannot apply to my condition.
But I smile back to her and sip more from the
yellow plastic cup
she gave to me
with its grey cartoon elephant laughing underneath
a bright red baseball cap
that is stuck between his large ears.
The cup is no more than four inches high
I calculate, holding it up and inspecting it,
and it was half full when she brought it to me.
Would you like to go to the park
when you are better?
We can go to Dillon Park. It is lovely there and you
enjoy it. You know the one.
It has the waterfall and the tall swings.
I think about how far the park is away from me now,
and then about what the waterfall would look like
if the water ceased to flow
over it. I can feel the dry heat offensively emanating
from the rocks and soil
of the abandoned cliff face.
The bones and scaly flesh of the fish
rotting in the dusty creek bed.
sweeping through the trees along its banks.
Would anyone still go to look at it?
Where did you get that scar?
An accident I had when I was young.
You voice quivers as you touch it
I am sure I told you of it.
Accidents seem to surround me
so that it feels as if life itself is built up
only of them.
I swallow the rest of the medical concoction
run your hand through my hair
and over my cheek.
No. I don’t think so.
And if you did
I must have