from james ithing 190Water saves me each morning.
Its perfect glass surface yields
and closes, summoning me awake.

Breathless form. No memory.
It calls me back like a lover
at night, but in my day I try

to clear my pool – from pollen,
dust, and a thousand leaves.
I know I’ll never be pure,

not free, not crystal,
not a mountain stream.
Witness the parade of men

bringing samples of ill water
to pale formica counters,
with two bent fingers, one

hopeful thumb; stepping back,
always one step, bracing.
The inevitable question comes;

What’s wrong with your water?
Pool men bellow the levels,
the chemicals needed, the critique

of things tried. Other men add;
Who told you that? It won’t work.
Breathless form. No memory.

I trust my gardener to know
my water. He told me the word
chlorine should be the name

of the sweetest daughter ever born
under a Georgia moon. He said,
it’s a shame it means anything else.


J.L. Cooper: published in Barrier Islands Review