Water Theory


If the moon’s surface was composed of waves

the way DaVinci thought,

sun reflecting moon ocean and our dark seas’

slow shadow,

borders might be in temperatures, in currents,

in light—the fish sustaining themselves in the cold rock,

the warped water, our planet at arms-length like a hot pearl.


During red tide, the waves

bring small jellyfish clear as plastic bags.

A lifeguard washes stings with a spray bottle of vinegar.

On Cornish beaches, reports say Legos

wash up since 1997 when a shipment was lost.

Occasionally, a sea monster arrives—

a thirteen foot oarfish, a log covered in goose barnacles.


Third graders learn about the universal solvent.

But there are always exceptions—

during the density experiment—in water,

oil and honey divide into colored rings.

In the Great Salt Lake, some tourists in their hats

bob like corks all day, all day in the green water.


Have you seen the video of the zebra

attacked by the lion? The lion clamps on the zebra’s neck.

The zebra lowers her further into water.

Out of breath, the lion must let go.

What else might collect in water?

In paintings, Monet’s bridge over the lily pond—

a dark curve in reflection. In Sunrise, his bay—dashes,

blue and orange on a wash of faded violet.

Jacqueline Balderrama

Jacqueline Balderrama is an MFA candidate in poetry at Arizona State University where she teaches and serves as Poetry Editor for Hayden’s Ferry Review and Iron City Magazine. Her poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and are forthcoming in Blackbird and Cream City Review.

Contributions by Jacqueline Balderrama