Painting by Paul Schulenburg


Ariana-Sophia Kartsonis


Freshwater Wish

         You take the lake. I look and look at it.
         I see it’s a fair, pretty sheet of water.
         I stand and make myself repeat out loud
         The advantages it has, so long and narrow,
          Like a deep piece of some old running river
          cut off short at both ends.
                                         Robert Frost

Lila takes the lake
way home. Wishing she could enter
its reincarnation easy as a raindrop
runs through the necessary weathers:
cascade, evaporation, cloudcradle, descent.

Easy as a river runs
salmon up to desire
and of course, back down
to death. The red-fleshed flush
of their numbered days
inflamed with the message:
we were made for only this.

Lila wants to know the deep old running
river that runs through her. Ask it why
it sometimes runs dry.  
Mostly she wants a single-purposed fish
to call out from her depths:
this is what you were made for.

And Lila would believe.
Lila’s been craving faith like a paperboat
to sail on some pretty, fair sheet of water
or other. A river called Worthwhile
with choppy waters would be enough.

Lackadaisical days poison Lila who read somewhere
that there’s the same amount of water on Earth
as there was when the planet was formed.
Faucet water might contain molecules that dinosaurs drank.
A thought that thrills Lila—makes her feel the way the word
refresh does. Like a girl with a peppermint heart.
She wants to be that water—fresh falling from such a height,
dispersed, re-made. Transmuted into something
so innocent, so clear-hearted as the glass heart, glass hands
of the pre-born Lila. Everything then, fresh and fluid
and ripe for descent.

(first published in the New Orleans Review)