I should live in Tucson
or somewhere parched, with
no water of its own, anyplace
that can only provide me
a few critical drops a day,
just enough to help my lips
form the begging vowel.
(Maybe, also, I should only
breathe in enough air to keep
my lungs apart, not enough
to greed about, so I never
get used to the idea of life.)
I have come upon the sound
of water so often it has become
white noise, an untracked
trickle in the background of my
head. I don’t really know about water.
How can I love it like I should
when it is this loud, this available?
Water is objective, it is brash but not
demanding and comes in bottles in
the store, but I just walk past them
on my way to the cheese aisle.
I want to love every drop like a monk
with a grain of rice but when creeks
cross footbridges, when rivers move
bravely in front of me, when oceans
speak words I don’t understand,
I treat it as if I’m a customer and
it’s the salmon in the window,
on sale this week for $7.99 a pound.
Illustration: Shreyaa Krritika Das