"To Carry Water"

Jul 7, 2014

There is the bird beak's way
and the way of the woman with child.

The eye's way
and the way of the well bucket.

The oak tree's way is not unlike that
of the cloud or the long dry summer it was

When the birdsong stopped,
and the woman stood tiptoe

looking down the well. Perched
on the handle of an unstrung pail, a wren

fluttered its wings without note. A leaf
floated, sinking slowly as the pail:

the rust holes, the caterpillar-chewed,
sipping in the weight of last year's skies.

For a moment of months, the woman is
the well—until the sky insider her

opens, and she stands above
holding a bucket full of leaf-song,

of wren-beak rain drops, of clouds
staring up like eyes.


Chris Dombrowski

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Born in Michigan, Chris Dombrowski received his MFA from the University of Montana. His publications include the chapbook Fragments with Dusk in Them (2008), and the collections By Cold Water (2009), in which "To Carry Water" was published, and Earth Again (2013). His honors include the Associated Writing Programs Intro Award and Alligator Juniper’s National Poetry Prize. His poems have been anthologized in Joyful Noise: An Anthology of American Spiritual Poetry (2006).

Chris Dombrowski has taught at the University of Montana and the Interlochen Center for the Arts, where he was a writer-in-residence. He lives in Missoula, Montana.