Water in Canals
is stagnant as tombstone, black
as beetles’ husks, noxious as ash
trays in bowling alleys. It broods
between streets which teem in barefoot
life abundant, dusty, loafing, sweated.
At noon, its brackish gleam conjures
scarred colonial shells—arches, columns
divided by thriving palms and bamboo
hollows swaying over busted asphalt.
Rats and leeches lurk beneath facades
dotted by parasites’ wire legs flitting
raindrop ripples across its stony faces.
It never drains. It is the vein for our
collected blood. Perhaps it’s all too fitting.