Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence

Water Translation

Water Translation

By Katherine Soniat

Today it's a dusty sun
and I think of summer rain
on my thighs, cold liquid in my mouth.
The corn rows are wasting away
in this dry noon of gnats.

I feel it and say oranges
to the blue field heat.
I tell you that one summer,
all summer, I rolled that waxy fruit
in my palms, pushing the long straw

down deep. I squeezed and sucked
up the opening globes of juice,
and at night the saltmarsh sounded
with breed, breed. Everything repeated.
In the white enamel wash basin

brimming with rain under the oak
larvae swam—those hatching young
scribbling into the oldest shapes of life,
all of us loose in the long summer
of rain water. Such poignancy

vanished in the corn heat. I cross
the doorsill now forshade, wind the clock,
each tick setting aside the moist familiarity
of offspring. I've tried to give

you the scent, and you ask why
I look at you like this.

Prairie Schooner, Vol. 65, No. 3 (Fall 1991), pp. 72-73

Biography

a photo of Katherine Soniat

Katherine Soniat’s sixth collection of poetry is A Raft, A Boat, A Bridge (Dream Horse P). The Swing Girl (Louisiana State UP) was selected as Best Collection of 2011 by the Poetry Council of North Carolina. Her work has appeared recently in Tiferet, Citron, Hotel Amerika, MadHat, and is forthcoming in World Poetry Portfolio, among others. She teaches in the Great Smokies Writers Program at University of North Carolina-Asheville.

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