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Witching Water



— for Jane and David

Mister Pogue rode over in the pickup from the neighbors'
Where he'd witched a vein in the ridge. Right where it was
Hoped it would be. Not saying how deep. How to get it out.
Or how to get it from under the other neighbors'
To your place where he didn't find any.
There are rivers flowing under rivers. There are rivers
In the land underneath the land.
Willow knows where they are.

The Mattole is low now, a long way down. The spring just a trickle.
The tank takes hours to re-fill. The last moon of summer
Empties itself for half the day. The storms are more fire than water.
We walk through the long grass. Dry, untended, these ten years now
Ungrazed by anything but deer and the wind. Uneven sod underfoot
We follow Mister Pogue in a line. Ahead of the undancing willow fork
David leads us back to his and Jane's. She is barefoot.

Nope, says Mister Pogue. I can't put it there.
When it ain't there it ain't there.

Not everything comes out like we hope.
Sometimes it's there. Sometimes it isn't.
Willow knows why.
There are rivulets of blood under the sweat and tears.
To some people water comes from the earth.
Others wait. They dance.
It comes to them from the sky.

Pray it come soon.

— Jerry Martien, from his collectionPieces in Place


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