Answering the River God

I will speak plainly.

Your heart is a reservoir, swollen and ugly. You aim your brow carelessly, rashly, wastefully.
Your warm hands are tender knots chopping at the distance between us. Your eyes and lips blaze all too righteously. The nape of your neck quivers with the firmness of your argument. It's ridiculous.

You're far more dangerous when you don't raise your voice, you know. It's strange, but that's your temper, cold, understated, irreversible. Your voice, with its ragged, curt serrations, tersely rushes under your breath, faster than either of us can think. And then you say

In those moments, I tell myself that I can see through the gap between your shoulderblades. Floating there in your bottomless reservoir, mingling with the bitter and the sweet, I tell myself that the face of my reflection is just a face, the image as far from the truth of me as the setting sun is distant from its rippled, shining, watery rain.

I tell myself to lave my hands in your water.
Slowly, slowly,
the biting chill eases, reconsidering, taking its sweet time, warming up to the idea of warmth.

And then, achingly slowly, my cold hands warm in your running cold water slowly warming, your reluctantly kindled smile slowly unfolding.

I know enough to know that this solves nothing, settles nothing, changes only your mood and mine. There is no enough.

There is only your bottomless reservoir, your warm hands, and the beautiful ruin of the setting sun running through my fingers.


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