Rock Paper Scissors

If I’m on fire they dance around it
and cook marshmallows.
And if I’m ice they simply skate on me
in little ballet costumes.

 

~ Anne Sexton
 

A bemused observer
of their game until now,
I have become a portentous player
for I am Water.
 

Not the cleansing hill streams of Snowdonia,
the bottled minerals of Cerist,
or the bland, reservoir-rated,
‘lapped from the dog’s bowl’ drink.
 

No,
I am neither clear nor pure.
I do not quench their sand-filled throats
with the serum of their early years
or cool their ragged-flanelled fevers
as my beads burn from their foreheads.
 

I am torrents of snot-filled globules
bubbling in a salty cauldron,
liquid spittle unravelling before them.
I am deliquescent disorder,
drowning amid the septic sewer’s craw.
 

So what will become of them?
 

My rock,
my tiny pebble
who grew into a heather-faced
mountain of a man,
strong enough that I could lean on him
and feel small against his contours
his steady drumbeat a perfect paradiddle
to my erratic metronome.
Will he plunge into the slithering river,
his rhythm faint and failing
as he sinks into the brackish silt?
 

My first-born paper boy,
so many scribbled lines shared late into the night,
even when distanced by the delerium
of drunken student life.
Will his blue-scribed words bleed,
his pages turn to pulp
as his adolescent song
runs sopping through the gutters?
 

And what of her,
my sharp-tongued, slippery seamstress
with her silver-fish wit and her precious metal smile,
her glinting shears swathing effortlessly
through the diaphanous dream
that she weaves around her.
Will her blades rust
beneath the deluge of my sorrow,
as the naïve loom lies abandoned
in the corner of a cobwebbed room?
 

No,
for I am Water.
I can be poured
back into the pitcher,
treated and filtered
until I run clean and clear again,
dancing weightless and unfettered
in the myriad sparkling streams
of Mynydd Mawr
where they will lift me to their lips
in cool-cupped hands
and sup from me once more.
 
 

~ Mynydd Mawr ( Welsh for big mountain) is a mountain in Snowdonia, North Wales and is pronounced Mun-ith Mow-r (rhymes with hour)
 
 

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