At night, we whisper secrets in our sleep.
In the breaths before dawn I confess my hunger
for the sweet kernel of hazel skin, soft and fleshy to the tooth,
its taste a flowering of words against my tongue.
I did not heed the counsel of the birch, the gurgled
censure of grass as I walked towards the well.
A dark stirring turned petal in my blood, quickening to the ripple of husk
on stone that nursed the echo of the spring.
I could not have been the first to challenge
the inadequacy of water, the failure of its language
to convey, the flesh and bone of hunger, the nestling of hope.
I walked widdershins, turned my back against the current
only to feel it rise, its thrust turning skin to scale,
limbs to argentite. An idiom of freshwater,
I became a dialect of the reeds that dart and flow,
with the flick of a quicksilver tail.
Knowledge blooms in the netting and spines that gild the fin,
which strains against the silence of the stream.
- Anne Daly