by Hastings Hensel

“There the pump stands…marking the centre of another world.”—Seamus Heaney, “Mossbawn”

Ordered toward that quiet space
of snakes, where the yard hose
snakes past the mole that lies
thrillingly dead in the ant bed,
and a puzzle of ivy shadows
riddles the cracked cinderblock
walls of the house, I followed—
without question—the question-
marked hose, past each prickly
holly bush and a manic rush
of insects, to this other world
where a spigot handle bloomed
out of the pipe in the ground.
My father swung the nozzle,
pistol-whipping air, hollered,
Let there be water! and so there
I let water be: three twanged
clockwise cranks of the handle,
and water flowed like language
from my world to that other,
to where he stood by the boat,
washing the new world’s words:
bow, rudder, batten, transom, stern.

HASTINGS HENSEL is the author of a full-length poetry volume, Winter Inlet (Unicorn, 2015), which earned the Unicorn Press First Book Award, and of a chapbook, Control Burn (2011), which won of the Iron Horse Literary Review Single-Author Competition. The recipient of the 2014-2015 South Carolina Arts Commission Fellowship in Poetry, his poems appear in storySouthThe Greensboro ReviewCave Wall32 Poems, and elsewhere. He teaches at Coastal Carolina University, where he is the poetry editor of Waccamaw, and lives with his wife, Lee, in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina.