To Carry Water

or light is the first and final bow


Heavy is the thought like a brand on my mind

later to seep out and show on my skin

in deep red: I was to blame because I did not say No

to the drunk man who might otherwise have known better

than to touch me there as he hid under the covers


Heavier, without my knowing, was the neglect

that placed me alone within a dangerous man's reach

a neglect like a brand on my mind

later to seep out and show on my skin in near black brown:

I am wrong for being


Light is the experience of everything in nothing - Absolute 

that I conjured when the brands called shame grew too heavy

so I shut my eyelids and focused my attention

nowhere but the darkness seen there


Heaviest then through the years was the silence

I kept for fear of speaking truth

just to be branded again


A silence broken only after the brand took the shape

of a large red and black raised oddly morphing mole


A cancer that bought attention as full as the toxicology book,

1236 pages long

The Basic Science of Poisons is almost

as thick as Webster’s International Encyclopedia

the same small font but with two columns instead of three

tables and figures instead of photographs

inviting heaviness in unspoken hazards


understood by so few

and molested

by those whose opinions determine

the fate of babes and butterflies

Then yet, like drunk wannabe cowboys who fondle easy girls,

heavier are the hazards themselves confusing hormones,

spoiling blood, weakening bone, irritating nerves

distorting thought with fear


Heaviest is the possibility of distorted thought

ubiquitous and concentrated - inescapable

like the brand of neglect on the open mind.


A possibility heavy enough to become

a world without food

filled with impoverished children

who know stark

yet not a glimpse of splendor

under rule that creates false borders to shut them out

where Earth provides a bridge


Raising the most important question

do the children have water?


Thus, refusing a destitution that will become the world,

what does a Mother do but become destitute herself

if that’s what it takes to prove that it is indeed possible

to love every child as she does the child to whom she gave birth


What is a Mother’s first request but


Go cheerfully or not at all,

if you must.

When the love of All

is too much to hold

stand taller

to let this rest

as a gift

atop your head


and step as carefully

as you are urgent.

If you must walk, go with purpose

and without complaint.


Please be a reminder of the ones

who first stood upright

just to carry water


- the ones who went on

when they felt as if they could walk no further

only that you and the other children might

note: TO CARRY WATER is a bit of memoir edited 2018 and first written summer 2014 during a month's creative witness with butterfly focusing on personal and planetary transformation. I'd just been taken in by a grandmother who is fully engaged in Transition activities and advocacy for climate action. The poem weaves three generally taboo topics, early childhood incest, ubiquitous chemical pollution, and Samadhi. The Mother's request is something that came to me while riding my bike in 2012 and feeling overwhelmed yet determined to prove wrong a rather common opinion that it is impossible to embrace everyone - the whole world - in one's care.