Tito Manuel Has A Cousin Drinking Water on the Death March
Since I did not recognize you as my relative
I thought you were made of rivers
because I could taste only metal and dust
and believed you were a body of water consuming
himself for his own pleasure. Forgive me
for not greeting you in the customary way
one does when discovering a distant relative
surrounded by an invading military.
What is the cost of water? Before now,
I had never accused a river of hiding
in the shape of the boy I once watched drain
the blood out of a chicken by hanging it
upside down, but I touched your arm
to investigate your source, to learn
how to conjure an ocean from myself despite
my concern about your ability to dissolve me
since I have become too familiar
with my own salt. Worse yet, you
could have been absorbed by the ground
before you told me everything
you knew about water.
What did I know about shaping
wet soil into your mouth?
Had you been consumed by
the trees, could you have conjugated
the names of the fruit to which
you had been dispersed?
Could you have told me then
from which tree
your body hung?
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