Skip to content

Megan Gannon – Ⅲ

Well Water 

The Gambia, West Africa






Water, jio, ndiem,

ndox for boiling water

for steaming water

for dampening coos

after sifting.  Water for loosening

creases of clothing, water

for soap soaking suds

through old thread.

Water for rinsing and

rinsing and, hanging, dripping

on chickens drinking in

puddles, sudden in sun.


Water for sprinkling

on thresholds of houses,

for holding dirt down

against sweeping or wind.

Water for wetting ears eyes

and mouth, for burnishing skin

for preparing like slaughter the body

for prayer. Water for fasting.

Water for thirsting and so, for sealing

the soul against sickness

or sin.  Water for spitting–

even the lips must be wiped of all


water for drinking, for drawing

up buckets swimming with insects

and half of a lizard’s

bird-severed sprig. Water

where someone’s been

missing a twin and finds her

a bobbing, time-bloated bag.  Water

for coffins and often for villages’

storage of stories, water like blood

feeding rivers of living

where we harvest each day

from down a dark throat.