December – Passing the Artesian Well

A traffic rush has slowed and
cars glide across the pavement with ease,
moments after an ambulance and
fire truck sped off to their next stop, their
continual response: never-ending
is the call to calm suffering, life’s
emergent suffering.

Dusk sets in beyond
the magenta, peach & violet lights, ripples of sky
seem hand-streaked or breathed-upon
as they become the glow of sunset, each day
says goodbye and it can be so beautiful.urban sunset

Stars above
witness these silent activities,
they see and light
paths taken by our shadows,
while bodies hover
over a stone circle, happy hands
pull away buckets and buckets of fresh
drinkable water, a small child
sips directly from her own cup and dances
along the sidewalk, having received the gift
having savored the taste of life, sweet,
playful life, life is here
springing from the earth, open-source
as they say, free for the taking – no
corporate ordinance, no plastic bottles, no
bureaucratic disruption, no
questions of pricing, no
barrier erupts to deny anyone
the taste of life. Myself, anonymous passenger,
anonymous traveler, aware of recent
transformations on this land where
ʔaciɬtalbixʷ – the people have filled their cups
for staggering millennia, I see all
the different ones coming together
in this moment — and I remember
another time I was a passenger,
on an unlit road, no lights and no traffic,
sparse red tails gliding in still air, a late
summer morning when full green
basswoods swayed heavy with humidity.

Neah Bay

My father and I traveled together, pulling water
from a spring who ran clear and bright
at that time, that morning, wordlessly
we filled our containers
— in his generation
they pumped water from the earth
by hand
and before that, Onkwehonwe filled
cups and vessels from those springs
and nearby streams
and before that, at some time –
all life emerged from water, water was respected
as the one who connected all living things,
the force we built our lives around
was the water, our very first home,Bushes and Waves

and I think
to remark upon the connection,
to tell my driver
where it is that I’ve come from,
the millions
of steps I’ve taken to get here and how
like that water, I witness and rejoice
in these cycles that continue and bind us
to our places, the journey of water begins
at distances I cannot comprehend, traveling
from the stars through the mesosphere
to mountaintops that freeze and thaw
and bleed an elegant path
into our cups, our bodies, and our
lives, but the words and the language
fail me, always fail me, and so I breathe heavy,
breathe a full sigh; I shift and inhale,
closing my eyes to wonder: what can be said
what words exist to accurately describe
this miracle, this phenomenal gift
who touches all life, who gives and endures
in wordless and constant
and ever-reaching grace?

 — Kristi Leora Gansworth