We are spread wide as delta fans at the mouth of the river.
I speak only for the river,
the flooded river with a skin of mud and roots buried underneath the skin
that like to coil around the hairless ankles of a child
and hold him under water ’til he is born again or until he knows
how to breathe in water.
I speak for that river,
river of trees washed away in heavy rainfall, carried on their backs
with morning doves still nested in the branches,
until they meet a dam they cannot breach
without luck or a kind of grace that can’t be paid for.
But you are the estuary where the river and the Gulf flood
into one another.
There are wounds still sore after a thousand years,
pus filled and seeping,
that may be cleansed and healed by the salt water of the Gulf.
Three years later you can’t find a scar.
But there is someone living inside us that cannot survive
who cannot breathe in a wide expanse of water that tastes like tears
even if they be the tears of joy.
We swim until we grow too weak to hold back the very substance
we are made of.
Then we are washed away. Then we are gone.
I know only what I am told and often not even that
but this is what the river has been telling me.
You are the Estuary. You have a face, my love.
Your hair is a woven braid of river water and of Gulf.
As long as the One I love has a face, my face will be hers
and her face will also be hers.