Original poem reprinted online here: "Water Table" by Eliza Griswold
Originally read: September 3, 2013
More information about the Poet: Eliza Griswold
When I looked at the title of this poem again earlier today, the first thought was, "water boarding?" Does this poem go in that direction? No, well probably no. The first stanza can imply that sort of image thought:
My earliest wish was not to exist,
to burst in the backyard
no blood, no fleshy bits,
This part could reference the speaker's mindset of violence. However, the concepts are generalized to the point of being not as personal. Plus the rhymes of "wish," "exist," and "bits," come in such a rapid succession that the lines feels humorous to me. Are the lines comical? In a sense based on structure. Content wise the focus is on the speaker, the one focusing on the time frame of the "earliest wish," continues with, "mute button pressed / alone behind the rectory / where no one would see me."
The key here is the definition through negation, "no," "hidden," and "mute" being more of a silencing device (a loose association with water-boarding if someone wants to reach that far).
However, the poem focuses on the intention of being hidden, "This wasn't a plea to be found / or mourned for, but to be unborn / into the atmosphere." Hyperbole. This reads as an adult interpreting a younger action to place significance. I get this mostly from the phrase "This wasn't a plea." The interpretation within the poem causes a distancing device that reflects rather than experiences.
Then the rest of the poem details out the formation of rain, "To hang / in the humid air, as ponds vent upward / from the overheated earth," okay so, basically, the images separate the past wish to the past metaphor, "rise until they freeze / and crystallize, then drop / into the aquifer"
The key with the last line is "they" and how to define the word. Does they equal wish, or self, or the hidden motive of the self, or suicide, etc. But since "they" is based in the context of conjuring within environmental metaphors, the focus is mostly on the end product of becoming another form and decending.