Poem for a performative reading, Learning Water, Salty Eyes


The flow of water through this house is rational, guided by a network of metal pipes, following someone’s intention. 

In this house people dream of the ocean, they dream of drowning; they watch news of icebergs melting, and of the distant peoples who suffer from thirst as they themselves return home with heavy crates of bottled water.

This house sees them sweat in nightmares as water evaporates from the bottoms of their glasses into darkness, leaving behind a sequence of subtle circles like Amenemhet’s water clock. In this house we ourselves, us, all of us, temporarily become water.


The water that leaves us remembers our bodies. It passes through them as if through caves, absorbing the tales of within. In this house, people long for the sea, though they no longer remember why. 

It is naive to assume that what our body feels is determined by what we know. In a soft dark, we only see a stripe of light lining the bottom of the bathroom door, submerged in warm water we close our eyes and feel safe; we enter the strangely familiar. Water and darkness return us to innocence before becoming, and now, by virtue of water, we seek to return to what we always were.



My mouth is dry as I draw closer to the sea, I press my cheek against the bus window. I feel the gravity of salt vibrating in my cells. Salt older than me, older than the ones before me. My body senses water before it appears, for plasma knows that home is near.

The seas rise up towards the Moon. Restlessness belongs to the full moon and so does our water. To be water, to feel through water, a breath condensed upon a mirror remembers the cloud of a tempest; the breath itself forgets, but its water won’t.

Water, in its essence, is time.

We’re mirrored in each of its surfaces. We’re the surface as the ocean rises and floods us with inner disquiet.

In this house, people are enveloped in memories of primal water, though they don’t realize, this house makes them dream of waves, evoking a strangely familiar rhythm remembered from elsewhere. In this house, we’re water: of the past, of the present, of the future.



The water between me and mother is forever. We wade through it perpetually, across, towards, opposing streams, enchanted vortexes. Yet it’s still the same water; the one that filled the space between our bodies. It remains, though it ebbed out long ago. It’s safe and dark, it’s intimate and mysterious.

It’s a hundred, a thousand years old and it’s ours, though not our own.

A long time ago mother taught me to swim in a lake. Submerged up to her waist she slowly walked backward, moving away from me as I swam towards her persistently, it was a game we played, she did not know that I knew.

The ancient childhood lake, an intuition of its bottom, sweet and murky. The first lake is safety, is longing, is fear, is subconscious. 

A lot later I carry a stone, salty and marbled, a stone that remembers the Atlantic. I carry it in my hands, walking atop a sweet, icy crust of a lake. I walk until I reach its center and put it down in a spot where, at a certain moment of spring when I am far away from here and not aware, it will break through the surface and sink towards the bottom to join the soft, slow bodies of carps.

Does a glacier know more than a breath upon a mirror?

In this house, water keeps a memory of all that it once was. A friend once told me how he and his boyfriend drank each other’s urine, over and over, the water of two bodies, one perpetually rewriting the memory of the other.


My Moon rises in Pisces, yours in Taurus, to oscillate one’s own restlessness, to cling to the full moon as a tongue clings to a palate. The palate like the ceiling of a cave, the tongue as a sleeping fish.

In this house, scarlet water rests inside the pomegranate seeds. In this house the water of potato flesh awaits, awake, it moves toward the light, sensing the sliver of light beneath the pantry door.

Water is, forever, home.



To write water, to perceive water, to learn water. To be aware that it shapes me, that we shape and nourish one another. Venice, water romantic and toxic. The Moses system is designed to prevent water from flowing into the lagoon. But the lagoon needs the flow of water; a constant balancing and harmonizing of needs. Water: to be too much, to be too little.

I was born under the sign of Aquarius and I love the feel of chlorine on my skin, the red eyes, lungs catching breath and wrinkled fingertips. I like bubble baths, hydro-massage pools, water jets, countercurrents, circular currents, fountains, water slides, thermal rivers, deep bathtubs. Swimming: meditation, training, endurance, intimate solitude. To be in the water, to be water, to be one’s own element. 

My first sea and other seas, endlessly streamlining. The sea: with every submersion the body lets go of something it doesn’t need. Sea: intimate solitude. The surface of the sea, gently disturbed by the strokes of my arms. The body of the ocean: to conquer one’s fear. To remain in contemplation, a loving gaze, in daydreams with the ocean. 

Breathing out into the water, my awareness gathers at the midline of my body. Water is the center. Water slices me in half. My body has its depth, it’s intermediate space. The center, which we disregard so often. To move through the water is to summon one’s center.



Somewhere far away. Somewhere far away ice caps are melting, toxicity enfolds ocean molecules; somewhere far away deep-sea mining is taking place. 

It’s somewhere far away, we tell ourselves, yet our water and the one that’s far away are entwined vessels. And so, in the quiet of the night, the iceberg inside us cracks and sows disquiet into our dreams. It doesn’t depart with the morning light, on the contrary, it returns night after night, while somewhere far away a delicate web of cracks begins to show. 

No water is further away from us than our tears.

Our bodies are our water clocks.

In this house we ourselves, us, all of us, temporarily become water.


(Translation from Slovak to English by Katarína Hrušková )