Deep rivers thread miles
of country before water
reaches my lips.
How murky the liquid
before filtering into my cup,
what muck it floated.
Outside cities are lions
at the doors of homes—they’re there
whether or not we recognize them.
Behind walls of cinderblock,
stucco, aluminum, or less, men and women
still find each other in the night.
I wash my hands of the fine earth
that gathers in creases,
colors skin, taints clothes.
Rugged country whose sands slip
into sea like a gull takes flight
with a fractured wing.