The Death of Water

by John Lee Clark

I shall never forget the surprise and delight I felt when I uttered my first connected sentence. "It is warm" ...My soul, conscious of new strength, came out of bondage, and was reaching through those broken symbols of speech to all knowledge and all faith. -Helen Keller

What if, I wonder as I drown
in all of the praise she drank
on our behalf, what if
surfaced water had died away---

the last drops joining
mist echoing less and less
separably, becoming one howl
of a hand tracing all about
for an improved history---

before she first drank w-a-t-e-r
(all knowledge and all faith)
only to sign it away, washing
her hands of it by dipping
her tongue in the inkwell
of in appropriate splendor
and of lying?