Wherever There Is Water There Is Wild
In the middle of a city or along a suburban
street, wherever there is water
there is wild—water wild as a wilderness
lake, water wild as water always
is, despite whatever human habitations might
by happenstance encroach upon the shore.
Here, where city buses whoosh and trucks diesel
by, the breeze plays upon the sunlit
lake, wavelets rippling the deep
blue, marsh reeds swaying like stage-lit dancers.
It is what these tundra swans, loons, and herons
know—that wherever there is water
there is wild, and the water’s wildness is within
them, too—within them and within us.
It is what the whispering water knows in its wild
watery way—all things that breathe, walk, pulse,
all things are mostly water. Whatever sees water
is water, whatever drinks water is water drinking.
Feel the wildness of the water within this amphora
of flesh, this wineskin of ourselves that siphons
water into a flicker of consciousness where, watery-
eyed, we look out on a windswept world.
Our tongues eternally taste the watery wild
of ourselves; bathing, we feel the slight membrane
of skin separating ourselves, water from water,
which is why water is restful, why our watery
eyes are drawn to water, are hypnotized by
water’s movement and moods. It is the wildness
that we are and will be when one day
we flow back. See the waterlights glinting
on these wavelets—a hundred thousand ancestors’
eyes long since returned to the source. Wick the water
that is you to light your candle-eyes. Wherever
there is water there is wild.
Timothy Walsh (website) has placed poems and short stories in The North American Review, The Midwest Quarterly, Inkwell, New Millennium Writings and others. His awards include the Grand Prize in the Atlanta Review International Poetry Competition, the Kurt Vonnegut Fiction Prize from North American Review, and the Wisconsin Academy Fiction Prize. He has been featured on Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac and has been nominated three times for a Pushcart Prize. He is the author of a book of literary criticism, The Dark Matter of Words: Absence, Unknowing, and Emptiness in Literature (Southern Illinois University Press) and two poetry collections, Wild Apples (Parallel Press) and Blue Lace Colander (Marsh River Editions). He is an Assistant Dean at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.