Although I was said to have been born
human, it wasn’t long before I became thing,
thing being a stream of water, or on better days
a river or bay. Some days I am grass, all of it,
everywhere in the world from the grounds
of an emperor’s estate to the patch where
the man without a home rests his head,
followed by entire years when I exist
as a single blade of grass, slender and green
like all the other blades on a boring lawn
in the suburbs. There are minutes when
I am a single sad hill followed by weeks
when I am the Himalayas, towering over
boundless lands from great and powerful heights.
When I am a mountain it is harder to walk,
but when I am a river I find it easier to
navigate through difficult social situations.
This is when humans call on me the most.
To celebrate their progress of riches with
a long, slow beautiful ride of self-applause
and self-referential speech. Or else to send
their enemies somewhere they’ll never
be found and never come back from
in the belief that it will make all of us
a little safer. And I fall like rain on the streets,
splatter like bugs on car windshields,
shake the asphalt like big, speeding trucks,
before sending you off like a one way
bus ticket to the cold, desolate end of the highway.
Then I cool the air, slowing everyone down,
bringing about the change in the seasons.
I take the subway back uptown.
Photograph by Jose Padua