Weekly Poem: Certainly, Water

March 07, 2014

Voices, Art / Culture, Poetry

When I think of water spilling from a green bottle onto a wooden floor and the danger

it poses to a carpet and the Moroccan women I met once, Berber women with kohl
lined eyes and mehndi on their hands, who made carpets from wool they sheared
themselves, and who ululated on request for pictures because outside of Morocco that’s
what they were, ululating Berber women—

when I think of water spilling, I think of the green bottle translucent in the evening light
like a summer skirt through which you can see the outline of legs and how, if you were
in India, you’d have to wear a slip or a petticoat because if some aunty saw you on the
street, that’s the first thing she’d say, “wear a petticoat or something,” but you are not
there now and here is a green translucent bottle, emptied of water and a wooden floor
and a rug woven with memories of dark-eyed Berber women and see-through skirts and
petticoat-wearing aunties walking at the edge of the ocean, greeting other aunties and
holding down their scarves when the wind comes to call, and the water spilling as swift
as a hiccup, as swift as the swallow in the mead hall of the venerable Bede, the swallow
that comes from the unknown, lingers in light and flies out again.

We are the lit mead hall, this life, and we are also the swallow and we are certainly


(Image credit: Hugh Gallagher)

This piece was written by:

Shebana Coelho's photo

Shebana Coelho

Sheban Coelho is a writer and filmmaker. Her work has been published in Chronogram magazine, Word Riot, the anthology, Beyond Forgetting: Poetry and Prose about Alzheimer's Disease (Kent University Press, foreword Tess Gallagher), NPR’s On Being blog, Albuquerque’s The Rag, Sin Fronteras Journal, Time Out Mumbai and The O&P Edge. Her professional experience is as a producer of documentaries for television and radio outlets such as American Public Television, National Public Radio, The Discovery Channel and BBC Radio Four. She received a 2004 Fiction Fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), a 2005 Jerome Foundation Emerging Artist's Fellowship and a 2007 Fulbright Research grant to experience and record everyday life in nomadic Communities in Mongolia. Her website is a href="http://www.shebanacoelho.com/" target="_blank">www.shebanacoelho.com

Contact Shebana Coelho

Honorary Subscription

Is your time on New Mexico Mercury worth the price of a cup of coffee a week?  Then click on the button below to purchase a recurring monthly subscription.

Payment Options


One-time Payment

If you'd like to pay for the content you've enjoyed on New Mexico Mercury with a payment when it's convenient for you, click on the button below for a one-time purchase.


Responses to “Weekly Poem: Certainly, Water”