by Lori Anne Gravley

"I asked him for water; 
he gave me gasoline."  
                     -Lucinda Williams

And think we know what we mean
that brilliant tap burbling
or the filling of the tub.
We say water
but we don’t think of tiny
drops that line leaves
when nights are cooler than days.
We don’t think of the ditch
beside the field or of poisoned pipes.
We don’t think of clay cisterns, empty troughs
or full ones. Maybe a picture of blue rises
in mind when we say water.
But who thinks of jade green pools
steaming beside salt flats
or tannic rivers where
crawfish wait?  No one thinks
of water that melts beneath duff
so that you can stand on solid ground,
feel rolling liquid underneath.

We say water.
What we really mean
is thirst.