Conversation with a Faucet
My father taught me to relate directly
to the faucet––
not through the mediation of a cup or glass.
He’d put his mouth right to it when he was thirsty,
stooping down, as if to kiss it,
something that I liked to see,
since I believed that was what workman did.
(His father had come from Europe as a carpenter.)
As I stare now at the faucet––
the stubby one in the little bathroom off the kitchen––
I know what it will say to me
before I even turn the handle:
Alan, it will say, I am not the sun,
nor am I the moon with its tides,
but there is something I can teach you.
My sources aren’t anywhere you can see,
but under the earth dozens of miles,
the way things you’ve forgotten
or never dared to reveal
can appear in what you might say now––
free of cloudy sadness or hate
and sparkling with lucidity.
That’s true, faucet.
In certain ways, you are an image of myself––
shut off completely, or perhaps mostly,
and then gushing generously,
as if going from depression to mania.
But do me one favor, please:
Don’t refer to your origins.
Let them listen to you
and then guess where you came from
from what you’re saying
with your silvery voice.
About the Poet
Alan Feldman is the author of several poetry collections, including Immortality, published by the University of Wisconsin Press in 2015. This year his poems have appeared in Catamaran Literary Reader, Southern Review, Kenyon Review, Hanging Loose, upstreet, Salamander, Cimarron Review, and (online) in Cordite, Across the Margin, as well as on Poetry Daily.