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C.N.P Poetry 

  • Writer's pictureCathexis Northwest Press

Remembering water; In your death dream

By: Thomas Sepulveda

Remembering water

The months of rain have ended. I remember

I am supposed to water

the yard, I remember you in

the garden, kneeling amid geraniums

and roses, pulling weeds. Now,

the jasmine has dried, leaves

browning at the edges, curling

like an arthritic hand.

In the patio, the hose is cracked

from disuse. The fuchsias drying

and shriveling.

How easy it is

to let go of anger, lying

on the couch, listening

to mockingbirds, robins, a scrub jay

perched in the front yard juniper. A late afternoon

breeze pushes warm air into the room,

heavy with mist from the neighbor’s sprinkler.

How easy it is to sleep, lulled

by the steady drone of the neighbor

wasting water. The sound of you

working with a trowel, the breathy,

constant tearing of soil,

would have finished the trick.

Years ago, I found a palm spring

while hiking in the desert.

I left you sleeping in the tent

under the fading morning stars,

light spreading gray across the sky like fog.

In the growing daylight,

I drank. Footprints of deer, coyote,

and cactus mice dotted the sand. I believed

I could imagine the world

without you.

What the world became was a yard

full of foxtail and thistle.

I am in this empty bed, linen

cool as your skin, like the water

I remember drinking.

In your death dream

An homage to Richard Hugo

You are in a bed in an apartment

you don’t recognize. The way light streams in

you think it’s morning, but someone

is cooking dinner and you know it’s late.

You enter the kitchen, and your first

child is trying to get cookies from a jar.

You know he’s older now, but help him

anyway. You are hiking in snow

and the trees droop like an honor

guard bowing. A light casts long

shadows and a woman calls, loud

in the tinnitus of quiet. You find a cabin,

and you are in bed, the love of your life

gasping astride you. Outside,

your mother says it is time to go.

You are a child, at the duck pond

your father loved, and everyone is gone.

You are lost amid duck down

floating on the wind, dappled in sunlight.


Tom Sepulveda is a nonbinary Chilean-American poet. Their work has appeared in the San Joaquin Review and Santa Clara Review, and more recently Wild Roof Journal and Kissing Dynamite. They hold an MFA from Fresno State. They currently work at a newspaper in California, and after decades in journalism are finally getting around to finishing that first book of poems.


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