Flesh & Freshwater. Body & Earth. a poem

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The water becomes her body.
Her body becomes the water.

An aluminum processing plant
shut down a decade ago,
sits up stream on her banks.
The toxins no longer touch her lips.
Matter of fact,
so little touches her now.
She longs to be known, like the old days.
To be prayed to,
to be revered,
to be honoured.
But now, she is a slow poison
to all
who thirst for her.
Even after a l l  o f  t h i s  t i m e,
her body remembers.
It has not yet purged itself of the memory
of the men, and what they did to her.
She is still liable to hurt
those who try to place her to mouth
before her healing has finished.

The water becomes her body.
Her body becomes the water.

The heat of the fire makes her shapeshift
and she r i s e s.
Beyond touch and sight,
Always returning to herself in another form.
Her mama was an alchemist.
Her daddy, a man with medicine.
Do not fear the intensity of being broken down, he said once
Because you will always become something new.
And so, she learned
to not fight her own rebirth.

On days like today,
when her body groans
and wants to be something other than what it is.
Something that these men without old memories
will not force their will upon,
she recalls her mama saying, that mortal things cannot destroy
something that was created to be free
So, let them be makers
of their own reckoning.
And so, she learned that the harm of men
will never stay for very long.
She need only to let them be swept away from her.
Their diversions cannot remove her from her original path.
On days like today,
that are absent of alchemy and medicine,
she holds on to that.

The water becomes her body.
Her body becomes the water.

She cannot recall,
if she is more flesh than freshwater
more bone than salt.
Even if she cannot distinguish her beginnings anymore
she decided long ago, that it is of no consequence.
There are so few that remember these things,
Her body is a story,
a tale to be submerged in,
a historical record that shapes the stone that others carve their records into.
She holds that kind of power.
The ability to erase the markings of men overtime,
smooth out the rough parts,
as if they had never existed at all.

She holds that kind of power.

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