by Lisa Harris

An undercurrent, cross current, the tide,
What water is, what water does, what water knows.

It is in the nature of water to flow, to cleanse,
To wash away – water is, water does, water knows.

I knew water this way: as a creek, a brook, the West Branch
Of the Susquehanna, coming from a faucet, dripping from a roof,

As the bath I stepped into, as rain on a window,
A puddle, a pond, a glassful at table.

You knew water as an ocean, tidal water, brackish water,
As home to shrimp, snapper, flounder, sheephead,

As a home to oysters, croakers, sea bass,
You knew water as hurricane’s companion,

As intense rain, coming in sheets,
As the landscape of your family’s income.

I knew mountains, as a view close to the sky.
I knew snow and hail, sleet and ice.

You knew flat land, pine barrens, coastal low country,
Azaleas as big as cars, 4 o’clocks with their intoxicating scent,

Oleander with its poison. What language did we share, then,
What visions? We knew the electric proximity of hearts.

We knew opposites and opposition.
I knew diamond backs; you knew canebreaks,

And we shared the tantalizing mimosa.
We witnessed trailing kudzu blanketing Alabama’s red clay.

We breathed the Oklahoma air, sour with sage,
And somewhere in Maine, the rocky

Shoreline brought a piece of my mountains
Right down next to the North Atlantic –

Twin sister to your southern sea. I cannot speak
For you or guess at what you know, although I used to.

We each miscalculated time, the word
And what a vow meant.

Miracles go unnoticed, some go unattended
And some are never realized.

This, then, is my apology: My not knowing
My own heart at the intersections –
My own unhealed heart you tried to attend.


Category: Poetry, SNHU Creative Writing, SNHU online creative writing