Your Return {Firewater Woman}

by Richard Paez

Your Return {Firewater Woman}

The day breaks.
Its pieces fall to the ground.

I made you a promise once,
before I ever knew your name:
that the untold, unnamed things
{the dreams of the dead,
the tears of the unborn
I would hold:
keep them for you
until you return.


I remember standing,
my voice {new
and nearly idiotic} reciting:

"Another day breaks
and another day breaks
here I stand anew,
akimbo as daybreak
itself lays broken,
shards all aglow,
the dawn shattered at my feet:

I bend down in silence,
collect its scattered pieces.


And you: your voice
reciting in my head –
your smoke and your fire

Your touch I have
felt and your kiss I have
received: now sunlight breaks
open and the horizon bleeds –
all of heaven is there,
all of hell, and you
all akimbo, aglow:

bending down in silence
to collect my shattered pieces.


finally you have returned,
dripping water and fire
to ravenously
cleanse the world.

And the strange gods you prayed to,
the water you blessed to anoint the wicked,
the fevers that possessed you
that took you places I cannot know –
these sacred things that burdened you
that raised you above me

are all mine,



Posted on 02/13/2010
Copyright © 2023 Richard Paez

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Therese Elaine on 02/13/10 at 05:57 PM

I find, for some reason, that I am incapable of being as thoughtful in my comment on this, as you were on mine, but I shall endeavor to do my best...you and I have talked a good deal about textuality and layers and yet there is also so much sheer texture of the physical kind in this -I cannot read this without a purely visceral response of dragging fingers through cool water and feeling flames lick the skin -it is a consuming sort of piece, as you have consumed me. Fire and water, in their various incarnations, are the world's oldest method of cleansing, and it is no coincidence that we have adopted the phrases, "trial by fire" and "washing away our sins", or that we use these elements as a means of metaphorically addressing birth/rebirth. In you I have found both a cleansing and a rebirth, things once dormant or dead are suddenly reborn/renewed and together we've both chased out small gods and lesser demons in the face of a more practical/desirable form of worship. As you know, I am not a religious person, but I am a spiritual one in my own right, and this, this is what salvation is all about -and in you, I find the very essence, the inherent nature of the word, "Hope." Like you, I am not only amazed at the level of craftsmanship displayed here in your writing, which of course, is what drew me to you in the first place, but I am also humbled and gratified to be the recipient of such words as you have granted me -each one is a gift, as you are a gift, and I can only promise that I will never lose sight of the value contained in both.

Posted by June Labyzon on 02/14/10 at 02:36 PM

I feel that this is very personal and that I am eavesdropping a bit, but I must tell you how incredibly beautiful this "ode" (in my mind) is. Fire and water!!!! Lovely, lovely, lovely and I too can not find the words to adequately give this piece the tribute it deserves. The recipient is indeed a lucky woman!

Posted by Clara Mae Gregory on 02/14/10 at 06:34 PM

This is very well written and a very nice tribute and example of poetical inspiration to a very nice, talented and deserving person. Thanks for sharing this. I am sure it made her day.

Posted by Therese Elaine on 02/14/10 at 08:49 PM

June, I am indeed a lucky woman and a grateful one -and Clara, it did very much make my day and thank you for the kind words!!

Posted by Melissa Arel on 02/23/10 at 06:31 PM

Not only is this poem amazing, as is the one who it was written for, but the two of you combined together are so inspiring! I love seeing people in love :)

Posted by James Cavet on 02/24/10 at 06:19 AM

Your writing feels...ancient to me. It is elusive, beautiful and has a transparent honesty like fire.

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