Mutable truths, or scenes from a short slumber on a rainy mid-week afternoon (a poem)

Yesterday, I attended an ekphrastic writing workshop. Distracted by the conversations taking place in the gallery during the time set aside for writing, I had trouble writing much of anything during the three and a half hours I was there. Instead, I found myself underlining the words within the words on the page of writing exercises given to every participant. Every line (except the last two) of this poem contains a word from the list of words I got from the first exercise.

The shallow pond in which we swim
helps us practice the art of our deception

We struggle to stay afloat on seas that cannot sustain us
counting one-two, one-two, one-two to tick the moments as they pass
every tall tale told in service of the myth

Down here, down low, the earth’s crust is also the bottom of the ocean
there is no such thing as a wing—what purpose would it serve?

Soaked in emotion
ignorant of pro and con
our best chance to keep steady is to spin round with the whirlpool

Even when your most callous act betrays the calm surface
I believe everything you say

Have you ever let the sun’s reflection on the lake blind you?

For the sake of thirst, we tolerate the salt
no two ways about it
but the hour grows late—we must sleep

Put the jug outside the door
in the morning, we drink

(26 October 2016)

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