We crawled out of her navel
one by one, then waited
until we were all here.
That lucid moment when
the last wet child learned to stand,
we began walking.
We walked slowly.
We took some time.
We took more than that.
When we began to grow
hungry, some offered to turn
themselves into animals.
Smiling, they said, Here, eat me.
Others turned into water, rivers, trees.
Some turned themselves to dirt
so we could walk a path. We crept
toward the edges, clawed and crawled to the top
of the world, and there we clung.
Instead of a mouth, a woman
spoke through a vibrant yellow
bill. Sometimes we visited the man
on the moon. Sometimes he let us
inside his house. Sometimes
his transparent hollow wife would dance.
Later, when people asked us,
Where did you come from?
We could only answer water.
A whole language comprised
of just one word. We walked
onto the water. We built houses
on the water. We had babies
on the water. We sewed clothes
made of water with needles made of ice.
The night so constant
changed us. The planets
taught us a vocabulary
without any alphabet.
The trees began to walk.
At night, the ocean glowed
green from underneath.
Our roofs were made of whale
ribs, our lamps were stone
that burned clear oil. And now
I’ve turned my face into this page
so we could sit here together again.
See the 2019 Optimists issue, guest-edited by Ava DuVernay.
- Why Cell Phone Reception Is Getting Worse
- The Dirty Secrets of Alternative Plastics
- Israeli Family Celebrates Release of Hostage Grandmother
- We Should Get Paid for Our Online Data: Column
- The COP28 Outcomes Business Leaders Are Watching For
- The 100 Must-Read Books of 2023
- The Top 100 Photos of 2023
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