A lost man might pour his jug
onto the sand to feel one with the desert,
and for that moment he is cleansed
of heat and thirst. But freedom
is not a moment’s craft. Pinned
by memory, he will regret
the gesture and the surrender.
The sullen break of journey
onto knees will not console
the water he liberated
from his possession, and thought
will prophesy causality.
Behold the city where there is no
thirst, not because of foolish love,
but for the aqueducts, their engineers,
and the rich who paid them.
Were we doves indeed, aglitter
in the feathered now, unable
to judge the present by the past,
we would not be stuck
in the narrow eye. Love, that is,
and the tent the lost man needs,
should someone sew it
who knows how.
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.