Water recycled as if through Vegas slot machines, jackpotting back into Lake Mead.
Water that traversed Tyrannosaurus’ bladder, now served in crystal goblets at 4-diamond
Water arisen from coal mines by bucket brigade, then steam engine pump, leading to
transcontinental trains fueled by more coal.
Water fresh from the tap, four billion years old.
Water made squeaky clean for microchips, bitter to the tongue.
Water of the R.O, the D.I, the UV and H2O carbon filter.
Water tainted by blood, bowel and bile, filtered cleaner than aquifers.
Water in the kiddy pool, heated by gallons from mama’s teakettle.
Water from the hose down the slip-and-slide, 50 pounds per square inch.
Water at the self-serve car wash that gobbles grease in its soapy traps.
Water of the pressure washer hobbyist, cleaning over clean.
Water warmed to sooth frostbite, promote sleep.
Water cooled to waylay heat stroke, sparkle sodas.
Water drunk from jerry-rigged tarp awnings by oceanic castaways.
Water of fountains, aqueducts, spas and lap lanes.
Water of storm sewers, sloughs, spillways and downspouts.
Water in the half-filled rainbarrel, more welcome in a drought than beer.
Water in a plastic bottle that took five bottles of water to craft.
Water trapped in rock oceans hundreds of miles beneath our feet.
Water trapped in ice that, if melted, could cover the earth.
Water trapped in the steamy phantasmagoria of our dreams.
Water that slants sunshine into python patterns at the bottom of the pool.
Water that breeds aquatic freaks at sea’s bottom where the sun don’t shine.
Water for dogs, water for industry, water for chocolate.
Water for beauty and for wiping clean the ugly.
Water as wasted on the golf course as its drunken executives.
Water that condenses, evaporates, rushes, babbles, frolics, falls, stagnates.
Water flooding the Mississippi and missing from the Murray.
Water of the Delhi outskirts one hour a day.
Water of Mother Ganga absolving sin in toxic sludge.
Water of oceans desalinized for Perth gardens.
Water utility stock prices that drop when rain falls.
Water that we’ve used and we’ve abused.
Water that can never seem to be used up.

-Cynthia Gallaher

Cynthia Gallaher, a Chicago-based poet, and playwright, is author of four poetry collections, including “Epicurean Ecstasy: More Poems About Food, Drink, Herbs and Spices” (The Poetry Box, Portland, 2019), and three chapbooks, including “Drenched” (Main Street Rag, Charlotte, N.C., 2018), poems about liquids. Follow her Facebook page at @frugalpoets. Website: http://bit.ly/swimmerpoet