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Watertight.

Watertight

   A view the fire-insurance man could warm to:
   flushed from tarry staves,
   a shaken chain
   of unending diamonds drops
   from a water tower with a steady drip.
   One day in winter, new wood, briefly blond,
   is nailed into place--sheathing
   preparing for weathering.
   In a week, new traces erased:
   old as before, now watertight.
   From the window in daylight--stable,
   self-contained it's a portly administrator
   in a newly sewn suit.

   Was what you did last night what's called
   slipping into something comfortable,
   saying, "No idea-killing here," and
   me there going and missing my cue again?
   I remember the late professor R. O. Payne-Chaucer
   scholar, tomb-brass rubber, and
   angling partner to some of the best-saying
   what lay beneath might be more
   than you wanted to become acquainted with
   in scary twilight waters.

   In movie reverse,
   the splash run backwards:
   person dives out of the water,
   big fish flies back in.
   To summon sleep now,
   no more drip counting. I fall
   to the rise of fish in a stream,
   my inverse water torture,
   the old way.

CYNTHIA NADELMAN is an art critic and editor who lives in New York. Her poems have been published in the Paris Review, Gettysburg Review, and other journals. Her piece, Solo Traveler, was commissioned by the American Composers Forum for performance with the vocal ensemble Dare to Breathe and premiered in Minneapolis in March 2003.

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Author:Nadelman, Cynthia
Publication:Southwest Review
Article Type:Poem
Date:Mar 22, 2003
Words:227
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