SLEEPING ON THE WATER

By Lu Godfrey


The goose sleeps

On the water

His head hidden and his feathers out

The rain snipes the pond and tears the trees’ petals out

To make the water bleed

But it blankets him

And I want to watch, silent

And I want to shout

I want to sleep

Like him, on the water’s shell without an anchor

Or at least get in a boat

But I am too nervous to steal from the neighbors

And I am too nervous that the boat will flip over

And crack the water

So I wait for a boat to come around the bend and take me down below instead

I wish I loved swimming

I wish I could live without thinking

Of drowning and the sharp rocks on the shore grinning

Of the spirits of the trees and the people watching from their houses,

Of dimming

I wish I loved the water

But I hate it

I hate swimming

I hate being washed

I hate being touched

I hate too much

But just this once, I let the rain blanket my hands,

Open on my knees,

Untying the bandages

I wish I could love sleeping

But it is Easter and I am a shell

So I let the rain paint my nails

And blitz my heavy clothing

So it doesn’t touch my face

My face is left alone

I do not make a noise in my mouth

But underneath my shell are sharp, tiny fish

Swimming around so much and so heavy the shell loses a piece

But the water blankets the cracks

I wish I loved the water

I wish I loved to sleep

I love the noises outside the shell

That are so new to me

But the silence was always deeper.


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