Desert is the Memory of Water
by Jack Myers
After I am gone and the ache begins
to cease and the slow erosion I felt,
being years ahead of you, starts
to invade you too, you’ll come to see
that desert is the memory of water,
like remembering when we were walking
in beautiful Barcelona you said you thought trees
were gods because they were rooted in earth
and flew in the air and magically made food
out of light and gave us the air we breathe.
I was stunned you could open up a God-space
just like that. Like when my 2-year-old dug holes
in the yard and fit his face into each of them to see,
as he explained, if he could find where the darkness
came from. Then you asked me why I never prayed.
I believe whatever disappears or survives
or comes into being is a prayer that’s been
already answered, and that we feel alone
because we won’t let go of what is gone
or has changed or hasn’t happened yet.
Waking this morning with my arms around you,
the dogs snoring, and a mourning dove cooing
I felt I had awakened in a peaceable kingdom
where the fear of death turned itself inside-out
into a love for life. If I prayed, I’d pray for that for you.
Note: Thanks to the writer Jim Cornfield (“Living History,”
Continental, 8/08) for the title.