Before tourists claimed Ayers Rock and added it to their bucket lists,

(It’s in my secret stash of haunting memories–the rickety bus

in the dawn light swaying to Sting on my Walkman),

before even long skirted Victorians helped each other climb the red stone

and ink-penned paper letters back to mother England,

before the ships sailed,

generations dug for water in that desert five feet from its blue pools.

Oil, dirt, disease would coax that spring to kill.


Sister, does a love become as common as tomatoes

fetched from water, peeled between my knife and thumb,

felt, forgotten as light on lilies, orange, framed by my window pane?

They bob beside the slate grey bird bath.

Can you keep your hands open after touching skin?

Can hands re-love a breeze, the smoothing of a quilt,

the heat of dish in water?


Are all our souls like springs, that weakly wish we left them

free of bodies, and only dug nearby to offer lovers

cups of living water in the night?