PoetrySpring/Summer 2023

Christien Gholson — Rain, The Ceaseless Sea, The Water Works Drowned & Prophesy: how the world was made

Ever since the flood, the long Cassandra scream.
Balls of water for nine months, smashing onto

concrete, roofs, battering leaves, then water
suddenly everywhere lapped up to the highway’s

shoulder as we drove pell-mell into the city
before the water cut us off from home. Sea north,

south, soy and corn waving beneath water like
kelp. Ever since the flood, Cassandra pleading,

this is coming, this is coming soon everywhere, 
but it wasn’t soon enough and so was laughed at,

chicken-littled, forgotten. Cars floated, entranced
in brown foam, then disappeared, like morning

dreams. Water surrounded and drowned the water
works: no water in the taps, only buckets of rain-

water to flush the shit, long lines at the national
guard water distribution centers, in the rain,

the ceaseless sea. Ever since the flood, the exhaust-
tion from Cassandra’s cursed pleading, then her

long sink into havoc. You remember? There was
rain until my body was rain; and your body was rain,

too, beating against your desperate desire to share
this prophetic fear, of what you knew was coming

everywhere. And I watched a father and four-year-
old daughter in the street, in the rain, the ceaseless

sea, as he squeezed shampoo onto the girl’s head,
in the rain, the ceaseless sea, and lathered her hair,

the girl laughing and laughing, her eyes closed
against the soap, all roads in and out under water,

her head tipped up to the rain, the ceaseless sea,



Christien Gholson is the author of several books of poetry, including Absence: Presence (Shanti Arts), The No One Poems (Thirty West), and All the Beautiful Dead (Bitter Oleander); and a novel, A Fish Trapped Inside the Wind (Parthian Books). Several of his chapbooks can be found online, including Tidal Flats (Mudlark) and How the World was Made (2River View). He lives in Oregon, where he is engaged in an endless dialogue about birth and death with a local murder of crows. He can be found at: https://christiengholson.blogspot.com/


The author: Debra Marquart