The task of the creative

Liza Wolff-Francis

To those of us who write poems, create art,
our task is to lead the thirsty to the lagoon

where the water is just cool enough to test out.
First, with a dip of the toe, then cupping

our hands around it to make a small
puddle in our palms, bring puddle to lips,

between cheeks. We cannot help them
swallow, drink, or digest, but we can point out

the deepest parts and the shallow areas
where algae grows. We can show them

how to soak their bodies in an ecosystem
they didn’t know existed. We can wear a path

in the grasslands between their home and this oasis,
where a quench is mastered before it even registers

in the mind. Our task is to show them
when the hawks dive down, to alert them

to the preying wait of the crocodile. Our task
is to make them want more, so they depend on it

and are conscious of that at their very core,
beyond even understanding thirst.

I could have been born a cloud

Liza Wolff-Francis

maybe float away, not leaving
any trace of image against sky,
my shadow moving across earth
into all we see once and thousands

of times, recognizable only
by its species and shape rather than
our smile or the sound of laughter
come from deep belly and throat.

The cloud does not worry about
where the wind will take it,
does not plan its next trip or its tomorrow,
it gathers its tears from the beauty

it sees below, carries its vision like song.
It rises, ready to nourish the earth,
floats like laughter across the air,
welcomes the new year’s sound like light.