listening to the levee board senate hearings

remember that the water sustains us,
that the water fed us
that we walked along those levees
watching the sun set beyond the lake
that our legs were planted there on the grass
as that vantage point
and we never imagined what even the water
could not have known
remember that we wanted to live by the water
remember that the river held us in the crook of its arm
and that the lake backed against us
that we lay down with the apparent abandon among
the canals and the outlets
and were submerged in our belief
that it would do no harm

we lived our lives
our beautiful, short, poor lives
and the water came for us
because water has a memory
and longs to hold in its deepest chasms
all that we held dear
remember that the water
had no agenda, no contract, no deficit or surplus,
no election, no seat of power to contend with
remember that the only water
that sat in on the levee board hearings
in Washington D.C.
was in small clear glasses that sat before the men
and each was lifted to wet his lips and throat and did not harm
as it flowed down into the core of them
they explained why the water came for us
and why no one was
and that the water did not answer
is clearly because water

has a memory and
will rememberas will we
as will we

Megan Burns
from her book Memorial+Sight Lines
Lavender Ink, 2008

used with permission of the poet

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