THE VOICE OF WATER
by Michael T. Young
It sounds like grape leaves shaking.
It cushions like thick grass underfoot.
Its currents spread beyond the range of mountains
which is why sometimes people mistake it
for the distant trickle of the sun setting.
The error depends on which way they’re walking,
and if the wind is blowing from the north or south.
It licks my fingers when I wave and only by its tongue
can I tell if the person I’m greeting is a stranger
or some distant uncle. My neighbor
grins from his porch, cigarette in hand,
comforted by one of its many dialects.
When it whispers, it whispers with
the same heaping hush of salt
pouring from an uncapped shaker.
Because of its excesses it remembers.
Even after I’ve closed the book
it keeps reciting the lines.