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Water Memory

Poetry & Prose | March 12, 2019

when i was in the city where it rained every single day i went to the gym at my school and sat in the sauna. until the moisture was disintegrated out of my skin and my clothes and into the water cycle. where it formed clouds in the rafters, picked up their piney scent and rained out of my pores again. and the heat would press down and press me together like cooling wax on fingertips. and my body was a hollow that i kept filling with hot lemon elixirs, padding with plush rags and painting whole with crosshatched strokes.

once i sat in the sauna until the top of my water bottle melted and my breath came in dry puffs.

once, i left the city to visit a friend.

i was drowsy from the rain and the ride to get to him. swaddled in bus-dried clothing. He took me to a museum (people always take me to museums) (which sometimes make me feel like an imposter) (always exhaust me). i had tunnel vision. there was a photo exhibit of desert houses one ocean away from there. closer to where i’d started than to the city where it rained every single day. Santa Fe, Alamosa, etc. the structures look dehydrated, bending on themselves like they were reaching inside – grasping at the lives still in there. they had sucked themselves dry choked on red dust. So beautifully parched I thought. Restriction is grace.

when i left the city where it rained every single day, i had grown used to the green fuzziness of swelled earth saltiness of wet beach, face, window. the cat tongue licks of sun when it pierced the wet and pooled in puddle impressions. my skull was a basin under a leaky sink pipe. the moisture swelled me there but i was still the temperature of wet, of rain. solvent picks up all the detritus it blankets cold and carries it in its bottomless belly so

i went to the desert and laid on the rocks and sand until peppery red was pressed into my pores. and i thought, im a house. i want to be a house my skin shrink wrapped tight around sun-brittle wood frame. and my sweat evaporated before it bubbled to the surface. and i bent in on myself and gripped river-smoothed columns.