Dowsers
by Russell Rowland



Jimmy didn’t finish high school, he was born
this way. Dowsing isn’t magic, it is business.

Jimmy initiates me—side by side, and hand
in hand, we pace E.P. Cournoyer’s dooryard.

Our two outboard hands hold the split forks
of a whittled willow wand, wrists facing up.

The other end points forward: Moses’ staff.
When a pull comes, it’s like nothing so much

as when you hook a bass, and the pole bends
in a rainbow arc before you—weighty catch.

Jimmy is not doing it, nor I: the human wrist
has no torque that way. It is the water table’s

covert gravity tugging at the dowser’s wand,
a vein as precious as gold to E.P. Cournoyer.

Jimmy’s cancer feeds on his life expectancy.
I have this funny feeling about why he walks

with me today: a sort of carpal-tunnel tingle
in my wrist that holds the wand. What will

I inherit, after probate settles Jimmy’s estate,
and there is still much water underground?






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