we were once, you and I, the same water / by Karl Cronin

we were once
we were once you and I
we were once you and I, in a place far from here where we broke off en masse

like falling
like rivers

remember how we sat together in that cool valley where we spent a thousand mornings?
listening to the robins
in that cool valley where we spent a thousand mornings

before we grew restless
yearning to fall in love with the ocean yearning to fall in love with the ocean

how we sank
how we fell
how we sank
how we fell
how we learned of the mineral how we learned of the root

the Willow, the Poplar, the Dogwood
the fecund beauty of this boundless decay
the great yield of soil
given life by our motion through the pores of breathing stones

how we pulsed
how we moved through the dark recesses our bodies caressing centuries of granite and miles of steel, girded by more steel
with a mounting pressure pressing us on

and now
where are we?
where are we?
metabolized in a Saltwater Harvest Mouse?
or somewhere inside a Tidewater Rail

what did you find?

as you moved among the mitochondria in the cells of the San Joaquin Kit Fox?
or sat simply on the feathers of a Marbled Murrelet?
were these happy times?
did you return to our valley?
I looked for you in the halls of the Calaveras, the Crystal Springs, the San Antonio,
and once I thought I saw you, but there were so many, so many of us,
and all so far from our valley

were you too lifted by the sun to where the air cools?
and with open palms did you allow yourself to fall through seamless sheets of air?

did you linger at dusk under a canopy of thatched light, guarding private reveries in the sylvan musk?

perhaps, after all this time, we have become lost to each other

but maybe here
now
we can remember

we were once
we were once you and i
we were once
we were once you and i
we were once you and i the same
we were once
we were once you and i
we were once you and i the same
we were once you and i the same water
we were once you and i the same water