I came to you carrying water. I came to you
carrying silted water from a well,
muddied water carried in a bucket with a split lip.
My water tasted salty, and like the earth, and so
like blood, and I brought as much as I could carry
in a bucket that drooled tiny streams of water
on my mud-ashen legs.
In all our days together I have walked between well
and house enough so the path is marked
with the branching roads of my soles.
I have come to you so often the path has many other roads
if only you kneel in the dust and look for them.
I am subject to you in the way the water is subject
to the moon. You are subject to me in the way a wall
is subject to its roof. And like the water I expect
you to come upon me of a sudden, like flesh
out of a slit in cloth. And like the wall you expect
intimate collapses, capillaries of change
inscribed day by day on our surfaces.
I came to you with water from my deep well.
I came to you with earth for your ready water,
water in every crevice for the valley
that divides your tongue.
I held your head in my lap and traveled
the many roads leading out of that valley.
Ladan Osman, Water (Narrative Magazine, Poems of the Week: 2012-2013).