The water below is the deep blue well— 
of childhood; I
cannot speak of it.
Holding sparks in my webbed fingers 
I listen to the muffled circus roar,
the ghosts of trees screaming,
the long blue waves of silence.

I am no stranger here.
My mother was a river witch. 
She gave birth to me from
her broom and I fell
to the wild grass by the water
where I was raised by herons.
(They fed me waterspiders, dragonflies, 
cattails, fish.)

My father was a huge black bird.

The bridge bucks in the wind
like the skin on a dragon’s back.
I climb up onto the railing.
There are voices, whirlwind fragments
of a shellshocked mass
intoned by a blind, fingerless priest.

Bless me, father, I have sinned.
I have stood like a leper
in the center of my longing, 
kissed the rotten core of cities, 
wept over the broken bodies 
of vanquished angels.

My childhood stares at me 
with its lonesome blue eye of mercy.
Hands reach for me, strangers, 
all strangers.

I whirl into space, dancing
like Salome upon the yielding carpet of air,

                   child of water, 
                   child of fire,
                   daughter of the raging light.