THE WORDS OF WATER | LAS PALABRAS DE AGUA by Nancy Valladares
The words of water have no sound, but they are the most dear to me.
They sing the songs of the rivers and the rain and sometimes of the clouds.
They have no sound but they are not mute. They do not need a tongue to become
They were spoken by the plumed serpent and by the river spirits years ago.
The words of water can only be understood by that secret spot beneath your ribs,
where you can listen without ears.
Where you can translate the words of English into honey and fire.
The words of water can be heard when the sea calls to you;
during balmy evenings and Midwestern storms.
They are heard by the hairs on the back of your neck and your arms.
You spoke them in your mother’s womb; were enveloped by their warmth. They
flowed from the string that connected your mother’s body to your own, and later from
her breast into your mouth.
The words of water saved me, when I was drowning in a language that is not my own.
The Words of Water is the second in a series composed of five poems. One will be posted each week of September. You can find the first poem: here.
Nancy Valladares is Honduran by birth, of Mixed ethnicity, and an immigrant– she is unapologetically brown. She lives and studies in Chicago, working to get her BFA at SAIC. You can find her on tumblr and instagram. Illustration by Raz.