Today's poem is by Jessica Goodfellow

What You See If You Use Water as a Mirror

In Shinto, the eight elements
of beauty include impermanence
and perishability. Choose one
as your watermark. No,
that is the wrong one.

Begin by learning the 10,000 ways
to spell water. Puddle, swamp,
ice field: waters that don't
move. Estuary, geyser,
glacier: waters that do.

At lunch today, someone said
you were beautiful. The reader
is beautiful, he said. You weren't
there, but somewhere thinking
lagoon, waterfall, tide pool.

Knowing understatement is an element
of beauty, you thought drizzle,
fog, dew. All there is
to know about beauty can be learned
from water, so when you ask

the other five elements, you are told
mystery, incompleteness. Pause.
To learn the final three is to dishonor
the previous two. You must choose.
But here's a clue: cove, tributary, sleet.

Copyright © 2006 Jessica Goodfellow All rights reserved
from Beloit Poetry Journal
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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