My life as a ditch

Dirty sewage along with sewage in an open ditch along the street. Dirty drainage, an open sewer collector here with toxic algae. E. Cological problem. Concept of: Slow Motion, Spring, Inside.

I am a ditch. I live in the ground. When the water flows

through me it washes along my sides with a familiar

tingling that I have felt every day for the past

one hundred years. I feel it now as I see you walking.  

I see your ankles and when I see your ankles a sadness

leaps out of me. I gaze upward to the top of your heads, 

those heads that are sometimes bald, heads with the sun reflected

on the bare skin of a skull. Sometimes you are young with great

oceans of unfurled hair dancing on your shoulders as

you pass. Sometimes I see a gray hat turned to one side and

you are singing. But I am silent. I am listening.

I have heard you for years walking beside me. I have seen

the two of you pause and whisper and kiss. The afternoon is late.

It will soon be evening, and you are still here sitting in the grass.

I know you are hopeful. I have heard you say so. I know you

are worried about the passing of your life into the dull shadows

of tall trees, and I wonder, what is it like to be a human?

Sometimes you sit down on the grass, and you look at me.  

“This ditch will outlive me,” you say. “This ditch will still be here in this

valley when my beautiful body is dust.” I am silent

when you speak, sitting alone beside me. And, I wonder,

where does this loss come from, where does this joy come from?

But I am a ditch. I have no fear. The water flowing through me

is a song of remembrance. Every moment of my life I have 

heard the trickle of these small singing voices. They move through me now,

all night and all day and when the rain falls and I am full, I feel 

I am becoming. The water is my blood. What is your blood?  

What is the mystery of your red blood? What is this empire of longing?

What do you feel moving through you? Do you know where it comes from?  

Do you know the beginning of rain?

CM Brown is a poet, visual artist, an integral yoga and meditation instructor, and counselor who lives in Louisville.

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