Water in Canals

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.

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