layers of filth

this poem is
not about hands

not about how
you hold them

it is about pain
and suffering and
about layers of filth

imagine, for a moment,
a river that
never meets the sea

it dries up
in the desert where
fish skeletons line
its floor

i have walked this river,
i know its path

i have been this river
i have been this river

i know he is using and i
know he is sick and
when i look at him,
i see my father and
for me, that is enough

it is enough to see a person
it is enough to be a river
that dries up

here, at the headwaters,
where we find ourselves
with plenty,

do we dare look downstream?
do we dare acknowledge the
skeletons?

my nieces and nephews are
there, somewhere

they are asking us why
we walked the dried up river bed
without crying enough tears
to fill it back up
for them?

-A