The Reservoir

The smell of the reservoir-- 
its breeding and corruption:
that too was in our heads.

Our limbs across beds 
dense with thyme 
and the rough tongues of mint,

their needling scents 
against the unmaking odor 
of the water downhill.

The two of us in the night garden 
above that rift of water 
filling the dammed-up valley,

its drowned graves and little churches.
The two of us there; the reservoir below:
what's proximate, what's distant.

I envy us that lost August 
of our bodies, pale and given 
to the sounds of breathing and skin

that silenced our other natures.
In a tangle of stems, 
the season's plait of green,

our forgotten selves,
a moon-white leg and length 
of back sunk in the loam,

the memory of our shapes
still in the dirt, in the underground hives 
made from thaw and ice.

Reprinted from Arcade with the permission of Grove Press. Copyright © 2002 by Marc Woodworth. All rights reserved.