I put my back on something hard
so the bones release like latches.
My daughter is singing
This Land is Your Land.
What land, I say.
Who came to sign this
offering—a board
and a breeze. There’s a wall
of bricks to crumble
into the lake
where we sway
on the dock but don’t
move. What lasts
forever, my daughter
says—not the flowers,
not the hills,
not plastic blocks
or wooden dolls,
not the jars
we modge podge
into stained glass
to paint colored light
on the kitchen tile
from the windowsill.
Not today or yesterday.
Whose land are we on.
There are maps
and maybe under the water
there are bodies.
There was a fortress built
during a war and it had houses
and sawmills. There have been other
daughters born here
who’d dip their hands into this
same body of water
where we imagine the first
drop forming like a dress,
stitching into the land,
shaping it. Under the soil
is a nest of roots, cicadas
irrigate and each thing is held
in place. Nothing takes
more. Water, honey,
water lasts, carries the bodies
and the babies, evaporates,
is above us and below, like God,
is in the land, in your hand.
We belong to the water,
cloud face, tree. Rain. Build
a shelter. Claim something.
Give it back. Let the water call you
daughter. Even you
aren’t mine.

CLOSER TO IT by Sara Moore Wagner

Photo used under CC.