The Woman Lifted Her Water Jar

The Woman Lifted Her Water Jar

The woman
sat by the well,
weary and hot,
with droplets
falling from
her brow.
In her eyes
(if you looked
between heartbeats)
was a yearning
for someone
far away.
She was wistful,
with a tiny tear
welling up
underneath
her fragile face.
I could almost
hear his name
spoken
on the winds
of the desert.
I stood
in the shade
of a date palm
and watched her.
She was not
aware of me.
Her head
tilted forward
with some
memory
too painful
to hold
(the day they
separated,
perhaps).
One tear fell
from her lid
onto her lap,
and then another,
until there
was enough
to gather in a cup.
I walked forward
and bowed
before her,
indicating my thirst.
The woman
lifted
her watery eyes,
and I drank.


Sam Ambler’s writing has been published in Christopher Street, The James White Review, and City Lights Review Number 2, among others. He won the San Francisco Bay Guardian’s 6th Annual Poetry Contest. He earned a BA in English, specializing in creative writing of poetry, from Stanford University. He delivered singing telegrams and sang with the Temescal Gay Men’s Chorus in Berkeley and the Pacific Chamber Singers in San Francisco. He has worked in nonprofit theater at Berkeley Rep, Geffen Playhouse, Actors’ Equity, and The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts. Now retired, he lives in California with his husband, visual artist Edward L. Rubin.

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