HOUSE FOR THE STUDY OF WATER
1. Whatever you love most dearly
My dearest brother, last night
I saw water playing in the pond
where the women were swimming.
I was stationed in the House for
the Study of Water amid parapets
and ruby red columns under the
open sky. I was with a man. His
name was Curtis. It was muggy
outside. He said, it wants to be a
storm. I said, it (the water) held
no more shape than a dream. He
is so much better than me. I have
so much confusion. I lay on my
stomach and made notes in pencil.
From the veranda in front of the
waiting room I can see the entire
garden, including the river, and
further, the shapes of people I
knew, including you. I’d like to
get closer but what the hell. In
any case I can almost hear you
saying to yourself he always was
an over-ambitious but timorous
child to which I can add only the
assurance that now I am a man
and nothing in a man’s life is
more certain than his being too
timid or too stupid or something.
It goes without saying: a man can-
not have intercourse with a river.
But what then can he hope for?
If you do not know, she says, why
then do you not ask? You want to
stay with me? To come away with
me on holiday? To live with me in
my house? The truth is, if I could,
I would have followed her perm-
anently and without resistance. Or
did you expect me to just lie here
like a corpse?
[Originally from South Africa, Kate Kilalea moved to London in 2005 to study for an MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. Her first book, One Eye’d Leigh, was shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award and longlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize for writers under 30.]
Copyright © 2012 by
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