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by Anne Thomas

The incontinent faucet is dusted and crusted
with minerals licked from pipes,
from Uinta springs and canyon reservoirs,
where drop upon drop upon sand upon rock
surges from bank to tank to pipe and down,

down and up to a city-deep faucet
where metal won’t kiss metal
desperately enough to refuse the drops
that gather, swell,
rain again for an instant
before splatting on stainless steel.

Drops that rattle like a tin drum
keeping time to the kitchen’s waiting
and the sun’s slow sliding across the table,
measuring out our sleeping
and the dark’s mild yielding to day.

Drips that would puddle
into buckets into bathtubs into ponds
but instead they spread and slide
down the slimy throat
of the drain, back to the pipes.

Drops that seep like blood
from a gapped capillary,
the exposed watery pulse
of a desert webbed with pipes that draw to us

which blind hands would call or quell
with the twist of a lever—
casual valves of an unseen,

But instead the drops gather
and fall
and fall
and fall.