The Rise and Fall
by Genevieve DeGuzman
Outside the window
the supermoon looms. And I wonder
if it will make the waters rise here, too,
from the sink drain
and toilet and floorboards,
if the things we wash from our bodies
and faces and hands respond like the tides,
like corals making new citadels in the night and
roots breaking through concrete and asphalt.
A rise and fall. A praying breath held, then let out.
“Won’t be anything left for the wayfinders
who survive this,” we railed when the
coastal plains flooded and
bays and inlets turned our cities
into galleon ships sunken deep.
Most of us waded through it
leaving dry-salted tears in our wake.
When does the wreckage become treasure, this room
future temple, or that veil of light above our heads
a weightless shroud?
It’s all I can do to stand there and watch you
dance, dear daughter,
jeweled bright in your moonlit dress,
knowing the women who danced
under the moon were the first.
Ancient seas in the blood
drew their throats skyward to the light,
A Fibonacci shaped longing
over their shoulders
like inconsolable children.
I don’t need the emergency candles
to see you. You stand before me
as clear as the night, as true north, as clear as
my reflection in the basin’s stillness,
in the blade I’ve set down,
a compass needle turned now from my wrists.
Instead, I rise and walk out to you. I push
the doors open, swinging them wide
to let the water rush in
like a cat coming home from a long hunt. I step
outside onto the rippled lake, just as you hold
out your hands, our palms bright in the touching,
brighter than any perigee. Water sips our feet, our ankles.
It will lap at our calves before we call it.
Before the light sinks into the horizon we’ll sink
up to our chins in the waning. In this moment
our root-bound blood can’t be still. It dances yet,
buoyant, breaking mantle and crust, bending
the backs of lunatics once more,
spines arched to ruin.