The first woman who ever wept
was appalled at what stung
her eyes and ran down her cheeks.
How was it possible?
Hadn’t she and the man
spent many days moving
upland to where the grass
flourished, where the stream
quenched their thirst with sweet water?
How could she have carried these sea drops
as if they were precious seeds;
where could she have stowed them?
She looked at the watchful gazelles
and the heavy-lidded frogs;
she looked at glass-eyed birds
and nervous, black-eyed mice.
None of them wept, not even the fish
that dripped in her hands when she caught them.
Not even the man. Only she
carried the sea inside her body.
~Lisel Mueller “Tears” in Alive Together
From weeping salty seeds or leaking a flood of amnion,
we begin life afloat in our very own sea water pool
and someday depart amid tears of grief flowing over us.
We left behind the sweet waters of the garden
desperate for saline soothing and healing of our wounds.
Destined to bring salt to the rest of the world,
we flavor through our flowing tears, if that’s what it takes.
From the beginning, immersed in salt water,
all our days we seek healing as we weep in joy and sorrow.
That’s what it takes.
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