Coming to grips with the sound of water

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

Casey Killingsworth

Casey Killingsworth has been writing poems for 40 years and has been occasionally published over the last 25 years, in journals including Kimera, Spindrift, Rain, Slightly West, The Timberline Review. Casey has work forthcoming in Typehouse. Casey also has book of poems to his name, A Handbook for Water, from Cranberry Press, published in 1995, as well as a book on the poetry of Langston Hughes, The Black and Blue Collar Blues (VDM, 2008). Casey has a Master’s degree from Reed College.