The word I meant to utter first was water:

“ater,” couldn’t form the double-u, my apse

for mother’s aureole, drinking in. That thirst

has salted me: years later, water comes again

in membrane, memories arcane predating mine

with fluid newness much as Helen Keller came

to agua, lingua, letters impressing her palm. Now winter

makes leaves of my skin. Osmosis, Moses, every cell

a mouth: I ought a draught of this — I daughter

want and water. Gullet, origin of tongue. A river

long past sun, its lavender is shaken by the dark.

Come in, my child, we want we wait you owe us.

Dive in, O. Divine us.

Copyright © 2004 Meghan Hickey. All Rights Reserved.
Source: Poetry Magazine (May 2004)