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Aqua Vitae
Deborah L. Davitt

Water everywhere,

water in abundance—

but deuterium comets didn’t

feed Earth’s hungry oceans,

where all our life was born;

their ice is alien to us.


Be careful when you drink

the first melts from the shadows

of Mercury’s craters;

all the reverse osmotic processes

should remove the heavy metals

from its ever-shrinking crust,

but who knows might slip through—


be cautious when you sip

from a cup prepared

on Enceladus;

prions there

have been known

to tangle the proteins

of our brains—


no, not tangle, tango

as they spin us into

some new version of ourselves;

it’s not insanity,

just an environment shaping us

as we adapt to it,


as we drink the water of life

from the hearts of our new worlds.

Deborah L. Davitt was raised in Nevada, but currently lives in Houston, Texas with her husband and son. Her prize-winning poetry has appeared in over fifty journals, including F&SF and Asimov’s. Her prose has appeared in venues such as Analog and Galaxy's Edge. For more about her work, including her poetry collections, The Gates of Never and Bounded by Eternity, please see

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