Failure of the First

Austin Adams

Fatal waters drown pools better flooded
By the steady ice of intention.
Let me, parched, direct the rise
Of these locks;
Yet adamant mechanisms no more mine
Than each unsolicited heartbeat
Warden will from sovereignty,
Disabuse of such credulity
As I.

Skin accustoms to every ocean.
Desire envies the water its cool lucidity.

Pools overbrim
Only once,
Cruelly once.
It is the failure of the first
To imprint upon us indelible ecstasy
Even as the tide of the world laps
Saltier, lustier volumes.

To love in a language of one’s own
Devising, neuter nature deposed:
Every word might mean its worth.