Anne-Marie Oomen | “Only Water” published in Seiche ways, limited edition chapbook for FLOW
ANNE-MARIE OOMEN, Award-winning Michigan author, writer, poet, Interlochen Arts Academy, Writing Workshops, Poet in Residence, Writer in Residence, Writing Residence
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“Only Water” published in Seiche ways, limited edition chapbook for FLOW

This poem was written for a collection of ten poems collected from poets all over Michigan, celebrating water and published for FLOW’s annual recognition event.


Only Water

How do I explain this?
Something kestrel-like and light, yet

doused. He wanted us to rise as kites, fall like rain.
How do I explain him wading in

to his thighs, me following
to my chest, him lacing his fingers,

me facing him, me stepping into that net
of his hands, grabbing his shoulders,

him sinking a little, rocking
a little, raising me up, up, momentum

taking me on, his muscled oomph
as he lifted me clear out, upup

over his head, almost lightly, he threw
me, sent me into flight, jewels and pearls

falling off me like a torn gown,
then me hitting the wet surface, and all

those colors springing rising lifting again
into the waves of me.

Teaching you to fly, he said as he spun
to lift me from my own splash. I cried.

at the immensity of it.
You’ll float upward, he said.

Hold your breath, your body’s really light.
It didn’t feel that way to me.

Then the second time, it did.
How to explain I learned to fall

wildly, deeply into a lake of being.
then the way I rose up again, rising

like a saint ascending, that buoyance,
weightless, wet and untethered.

Only water could do that,
set you free from weight,

only the weight of water could
return you to your mother’s womb,

but a cold and fierce one. Only clean
and fresh water could resurrect,

make you new
and ready for miracles.