Waterfalls Are Made (or, Olafur Eliasson’s “New York City Waterfalls”)

As I admire water
falls as art, I lose
my anxious desire
for a chance 

encounter with you. I never forgot you. Mainly scaffolding,
pumps, and piping, physics of the tangible
after inebriation splashes
into the river 

of our souls. I know you
had one. Did you know
too? The East River is not really a river—
it’s a strait. Did we really converge 

in a place where fresh and salt meet?
Did we meet at all? Lost in the mist
of my quiet life, I would not hear,
or see you, if you did approach behind me 

till that empty basin
of a voice was spilling sound
through the air I breathe. 

What do you think of this? 

I would try to ignore what I think
I recognize because a quiet life requires
uninterrupted mesh
with holes to protect whatever might swim 

into the loner’s intake filter pool.  Fish might not penetrate
the fabric, but I can’t resist—I turn. There 

you would be well
into midlife, like me. It wasn’t you,
it was the City I left
to catch my breath for 18 years. 

Woman, is that you? Man, is that you? 

Where we once moved in the dark
toward young urgency striking off
the planes of our bodies, we would now stand still,
stone pillars. The Brooklyn Bridge has sprung a leak, the world 

is turning in
on itself. Wind trumps water, but not gravity. Water sways on its fall
below concrete and steel and wood. And still it’s the water
I bet my life on.

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