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Waterweight

Waterweight

by Stephanie on May 2, 2010

What about the roar and thunder of the falls? How, from above, the splashes up over the lip of the rock look like icicles? What about those grey-green gums, motionless against the iron sky, or the lichen-dappled boulders, black with slime at the river’s edge? What about the roots of that fig tree, hooked into a cursive left-handed S, how they’ve lived so long on the face of this rock that they almost look like part of it? A tree clasped in a stony embrace.

What about the way a rapidly-moving river can feel perfectly still? What about the water weeds lying flat on the riverbed, waving as the current takes a breath? What about the way the mist comes down, breaking into a thousand droplets in a space no wider than your palm? What about the way it throws the light back at you, the way it jumps out at you in the dark?

What about standing in a cavern as drops run off the leaves a hundred metres up, gathering speed as they hurtle towards your open mouth, cold splashes as they slap against your teeth? What about a storm just passed and wet roads filled with kamikaze toads, cracking and popping under the tyres? What about that bird with the long legs pecking at the bitumen, or the owl feasting on someone else’s roadkill? What about accelerating through the puddles and spraying the windscreen with mud?

What about your mother? What about your friends? What about your job? What about your car? What about the mortgage? What about your taxes? What about the way your shoes don’t keep the rain out? The way the sweat runs down your nose. The way breathing northern city air feels like taking a mouthful of damp wool. What about the cut on your finger? The stain spreading on the hem of your T-shirt. What about the steam in your eyes?

What about those dreams I have of a heaving ocean? Of depths that breed darkness and echoes—sonic ghosts. What about sky that looks like sea? What about clouds that splinter like coral or ripple like sand, or race past in puffs like schools of fish? What about floating face up two and a half hours from land, imagining a world upside down?

What about today?

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