Nothing kills the spirit like water. Fire
in the soul extinguished. The soil too wet
to rekindle embers where the levees
could not contain the river and all went
with its enormous rush into the sea,
No one was spared. The epic writes itself.
Who knows the difference between dry wood
and flame when its flare had only begun?
All else is gone. It is too late. Think now
of a flood. What is there to know? Nothing.
The cataracts of spring open the gates,
the long winter thawed. You know where it ends.
America. The Italian named it
for himself after the boats at anchor
spilled its human cargo on the island
of souls who did not know what had found them.
They were fire before the watery men
ravaged their women and enslaved them all.
It was not Vespucci's doing. The rape
begun neither by Spain nor Italy,
but that is so far back you no longer know
nor care for origins; it's consequence
matters most now, the wild laws abandoned,
all innocence drowned . . . What will revenge do
once the laws of nature become the lair
where the smug scions of Columbus dwell,
nor was he alone. Cortes, too. We know,
say their progeny, what we are made of
and it is not water: it is a fire
that never dies, nor will a flood drown us.
You were remembering what your life was,
what it is, wondering what it would be . . .
Why are we here, what where we meant to do,
how would we know if no luck were involved?
Casinos at the end of the river
fill with what the mountains send them for luck.
You no longer believe in luck. Nor fate.
What humans were is not what they will be.
The will has nothing to do with the soul,
nor is the ocean full of wildflowers.
Seeds root, the eyes flare, you love only what
loves you. It is the sun melts the mountains,
sends water to nourish the climbing vines
that find thunder and lightning in heaven,
as in noisy hell. First though, shrieks and groans.
You do not want your people to die now,
they have so many stories you must share . . .
A wild weed is what the flower becomes
when we cannot know where we are going.
. . . I was thinking all this while on the phone
wiht Roberto. Eleni Rallis lives
with him now. I cannot begin to tell
of his happiness, not now, when the flood
is all their future, until it has passed . . .
Eleni Rallis with her umbrella
in hand should the weather grow inclement.
Dancing, not walking, dressed for a wedding
in Athens, and was divorced there naked . . .
I conjure her. I send all our shared love
to Roberto, to give to her, to keep.
(11 May 2011)
copyright 2011 by Floyce Alexander