AN ARCHEOLOGY OF WATERfor Tracy Jager
I tell myself, don’t make a sound.The river is asleep in its glistening skinof lights, and all the sails are furled.
This is the hour of translucence,a gift of shadows wrapped in veilsof moonlight, veils of air,
like thin scarves whispering the near-ly inaudible music of butterfly wings,a gift that cannot be opened
with the cutting edge of anythingat all. Only stillness can disclosethe syntax of its tai chi auroras.
Water has many voices.They speak most clearly in the darkto what we are made of, that knowledge
we have sometimes, of being here and flowing awaythrough dissonance into sunlit recognition:what we once were, thoughts we have lost can return
without warning, the way love surprisesan overcast afternoon; everythingwe have forgotten survives and goes on,
like a deep-sea current in deep-sea light;nothing is only itself; look at a leaf –there are the branching veins
of tributaries, a river system, the treeof blood in each hand that grows from a sourcedeeper than language that splits and splits
from the first word, no one remembers, shapedin breath after breath, as we talk about thingslike this, and when the mist rises, the air
clears and there they are:the river and the sea: lights coming onin the mind: sails crossing:
and what you think is what I thought,or dreamed once, a shadowthat shrugs off its dusty coat
climbs through veils of water, veils of air,and fades to a summer night in the hills,where fireflies are dancing with the stars.
George Amabile has published ten books and has had work in over a hundred national and international venues, including The New Yorker, Poetry (Chicago), American Poetry Review, Botteghe Oscure, The Globe and Mail, The Penguin Book of Canadian Verse, Saturday Night,, Poetry Australia, Sur (Buenos Aires), Poetry Canada Review, and Canadian Literature. His most recent publications are a long poem, Dancing, with Mirrors (Porcupine’s Quill, 2011), Small Change (Fiction, Libros Libertad, 2011) and Martial Music (poetry, Signature Editions, 2016) all of which have won the prestigious Bressani Award.