DAEL ALLISON

Water-carrier cantabile

Barefoot on decomposing gravel
she descends the road’s uneven scale
composing her own libretta:
the base cleft of her arm
steadies the bucket on her head,
a faded sarong nips her waist
into a treble cleft,
hips sway a lyric.
Divas would abort an arpeggio
to take note of the score.
Each day the chore
of carrying a bucket
up the hill to where the earth sings
then balancing its weight
back down the broken road.
She is voluptuous with rhythm,
a fluid metronome
of bucket, spine and hips,
a cadence
of careless attention.
On her head
the water in the bucket
finds its level.
On her head
water sways
in a slow and steady dance.