Sofia Zavatone-Veth

falling into water…

the sweet taste of lake silt on your tongue.

your spine an arched buttress as your head sinks first,

heavy with its invisible crown,

face turned upwards to catch that final glimpse

of the underside of the surface.

nothing but ink all around you, but for a single shaft of sunlight

that melts the darkness into a gradient of ebony to bronze to buttercream,

flecked with the gilt of dust motes.

but beneath there is nothing but water for a long way down,

when it gives way to muck and reeds and mollusks,

still and silent as they waver in the liquid dark,

like the empty niches and peeling over-plaster

of a church stripped of its art in the name of simplicity,

of one man’s idea of morality.

stone on water, water on stone.

but beneath that church is another church,

and beneath the church is a temple,

and beneath the temple is a burial mound,

and beneath the mound there is a hill.

and long ago, someone called that hill sacred

and dug a well so that they could look out across the land and sky

and down into the depths of the dark earth

from the same place.