An Image of The Book In Which I Hear You

If there is standing water in the desert. If there is water and I am standing
over it. Staring down into the murk

or mirror of the pool.
If I am breathing. If I can see myself in the oasis.

If I am speaking and there is water
and you are there.

If you are also speaking. If we can hear across
the water, our voices

carrying in opposite directions,
our voices carrying. If our languages unspool in blue drifts

against the distance, escaping reticence.
If the distance of our reticence

is false. If it isn’t crossable.
If we cross it anyway.

Who will carry us? If our narratives erase us.
If our histories return to us

as names, and we are living
in the error of our alphabets. If the center of the letters

hurt. Master, Stranger. What is water,
where is water safe

if solitude displaces us? If we are homeless, finally,
each of us. If we wander past

each other, our faces moored
to their reflections,

the edges wrecked. Is it imaginary?
If the images we make

remake us. If there is mercy
in us. If our speaking

changes, and we, ourselves,
are changing, making. If we are made

in the image of the other. In ambiguity and contradiction.
If we consent

to not be solitary. If we imagine we are somewhere.
If there is shore


Copyright © 2018 by Nicholas Gulig. This poem appeared in Orient (CSU Poetry, 2018)Used with permission of the author.