Save As Water
Tyrone Williams

 

 

                                        “the meeting-place of two seas.”

 

 

For the desert nomads

 

oasis is a place-

 

holder for the placelessness

 

of paradise, exclusive

 

rights to stay the middle

 

of nowhere where the prose

 

flowing underground

 

and the light verse

 

falling from above

 

rhyme the garden green

 

with red hyacinths

 

for the travelers tempted

 

to move on, temples

 

beneath their tents.

 

                                  A body

 

of water, a body of land,

 

echo of the mute

 

barrier between the calls

 

to prayer for the necks

 

bending back to look

 

up at islands rising

 

into a blank sky

 

level with the ground

 

on which one kneels to wash

 

the body with sand.

 

                                 For Set

 

drives the waters back

 

to heaven, desert storms,

 

stirred up by Seth,

 

annihilate the alien

 

akin to the prophet,

 

Setekh, turning his face

 

away to save his servant,

 

as Setesh, the face

 

always in, as the, back

 

of the head, slowly revolves

 

into view, confounding

 

sight.

 

            The fires too

 

are forged in bodies of water

 

preserved in salt, fires

 

that will never slake

 

the thirst of temples, much

 

less bodies driven

 

by fire, by thirst,

 

for water, land and bodies,

 

for rest always

 

blocked by the grave,

 

the crypt that entombs,

 

enwombs, a world to come

 

with new bodies

 

forged in the likeness

 

of earth, largely water.

 

 

~~~~~

Tyrone Williams teaches literature and theory at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is the author of several chapbooks and five books of poetry: c.c., On Spec, The Hero Project of the Century, Adventures of Pi and Howell. A limited-edition art project, Trump l’oeil, was published by Hostile Books in 2017. A new book of poetry is forthcoming from Omindawn Publishing, Inc. in fall 2018. His website is at http://home.earthlink.net/~suspend/.