Matt Dennison

The Rock, the Water


Walking wide-eyed, the child drops

to his knees, for the stream is all around

and flowing. He lifts the rock, the water

slurping its way beneath with thirsty relief,

washing cool the inhabitants who sigh

and tumble forth with amazing heads.

He catches some, damaging severely

with no cruelty, no knowing; he wants

them as they are to be wanted and no other.

He catches some more, now preciously aware,

glisteningly upheld. Satisfied, he stands.

Reaching the offered end of his journey

he marvels: I heard your call. I am here.

I will lift your rocks, pull back your bushes;

slide down your waterfalls, build me a dam.

I will return at night and stare into your eyes.

(Your warm spot is not yours; this I know.

You live by the fact of the sun; this I know.)

I will hear you move in the midnight water,

far from my touch—O magic discovering

of wondrous field, seemingly excellent,

perfect, and untouched!—I prefer my hand

in your side.

Matt Dennison is the author of Kind Surgery, from Urtica Press (Fr.) and Waiting for Better, from Main Street Rag Press. His work has appeared in Verse Daily, Rattle, Bayou Magazine, Redivider, Natural Bridge, The Spoon River Poetry Review, and Cider Press Review, among others. He has also made short films with Michael Dickes, Swoon, Marie Craven and Jutta Pryor.

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