The Water Cycle

Runner-up for the 2022 Perennial Press Chapbook Award

In The Water Cycle, Gordon conducts liminal spaces inside and outside us; where one thing is always becoming another, where the string of a moment is tightening itself to change the note we hear, right as we hear it. These poems leave you whiffing honeysuckle, whiskey, and the dust of ghosts—including our own.

—Ankh Spice, author of The Water Engine

Gordon’s work emerges from the crater of impact. Agnostic to concerns like time or distance, The Water Cycle confronts life and loss that beats down like crashing waves—the way ripples extend and become a new wave also crashing. How the things that shape us have tides and pulls we can barely imagine. Gordon is a masterful storyteller reaching deeply into the self to touch what we cannot quite explain without dreaming. Because, in the end, everything sloshes about like contained water: violent but unseen, almost-tender in the way a riptide suddenly catches your leg and pulls you away.

—Danielle Rose, author of at first & then and The History of Mountains

The Water Cycle is an effort in prose poetry which I am highly envious of—I wish I could manage that depth and originality—it spares nothing—no-one: not one flower-bud, not one loss or stranger at a bar or airport bar, heart spasm of death or how the dead whisper to us as we listen. I have never known or read a poet such as Beth. Her heart lives on her sleeve, and everything she touches, whether it be living, dead, or something in-between, sits quietly in the gentle sun, then morphs into gold.

—Elisabeth Horan, EIC Animal Heart Press; author of Alcoholic Betty, Just to the Right of the Stove, and The Mask


In The Water Cycle, Gordon poses these questions to her reader: what is the science of movement? Of Drowning? She writes, “The second time you almost drowned I wasn’t there to stop you, at the edge of a frog pond while the grownups downed shots of whiskey”—Gordon illustrates a certain type of drowning here, the kind that leaves the body floating in a middle of a small pond made entirely of grief. No matter how much we try to fish out our loved ones, we can never reach them. We just have the ability to watch them stay afloat from afar.
—Jason B. Crawford, author of Year of the Unicorn Kidz

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If time is an illusion then how do we transcribe the moments of a life? If the boundaries between life and death, love and loss, truth and fiction, are boundaries of the imagination – then what does it mean to be a mortal being swimming inside the frailty of flesh and blood? If memory is unreliable then how do we explain shared experiences that meet us at both the surface and bed of a lake? In her collection of prose poetry, The Water Cycle, Gordon does not attempt to answer these questions, rather she asks the reader to examine their own lives with these questions in mind.

38 pages in a 6″x9″ paperback with a debossed matte cover finish.