Back to Issue Thirty-Seven

Someone is the Water



 —for my mother

I am alone but for this vein
of water splitting the earth open
and we are silent, the stream and I

far away from our mouths. The stream
folds over and over itself, my hand
speculating under the surface.

The stippled faces of orioles
sail by slowly, their dark wings working
hard as tired men pulling oars

in a landscape painting, their lantern
chests dotting a modest pattern
across the sky, over this brook

a mile from your house—from you
who are alone but for your sons
and your sons’ refusal to recognize

you cloaked under a sadness,
the color of whose cloth muted
as these late-afternoon birds.

The stream sluices crawdads
and stones, carefully takes its bend
like a tongue spackled with canker sores.

I still expect it to speak. I’ve come
here to listen to this slow
unfurling of water, hoping I’ll fall

asleep as it turns like a lullaby
a child promises he will strain
to hear, to memorize, and make sense

of smudged pastoral visions.
Gone, the birds long gone.
Palms, I cup the water in bent palms.


Austin Araujo is a writer from northwest Arkansas. Currently an MFA candidate in poetry at Indiana University where he was awarded an Academy of American Poets Prize, his poems appear in the Missouri Review, Shenandoah, Memorious, Four Way Review, and The Rumpus, among others.

Next (Sam Herschel Wein) >

< Previous (Victoria C. Flanagan)