Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Heart of What Has No Heart

At night one swims naked in the black ladle of the Big Dipper, imagining whales light years away. We sit in circles wearing masks of long-dead dogs, stoke a high fire, and sing songs we don't understand. I've left every Golgotha I've ever found but my legs are starting to get tired. Perhaps this will be my "summer that wasn't."

So we transplant the Rose of Sharon, we study the backyard rose bush which has maybe gotten bigger but maybe not, and we wonder what God would render bluets so tremulous and brief. By three a.m. the rooster is unshelving his raucous welcome, and by three thirty I'm walking along the brook, wishing I could do so in a way that didn't frighten so many deer. Melted mozzarella on tomato slices dusted with basil and oregano, and laid in a spiral on a bed of roasted garlic and olives. Always the sound of shirts falling to the floor, the mattress's creaky orations as we settle into its levels.

And horizontalings of light? J. and I cut wood all morning, coming out of the forest hungry and sweaty, pine dust in our mouths and chainsaw grease in the creases of our thumbs. Certain fences were meant to be scaled, others honored, and the distinction betwixt them must never be confused. Perhaps I will visit Paris one day, or you will return to Boston and tell me you are there and when, and we will walk the way we did in northern Vermont those many years ago, all night long and into the bright afternoon, getting closer and closer to the heart of what has no heart.

Or not, I never know and maybe can't or wasn't meant to. I sat by the window until well after midnight, happy to receive so much mail from the moon, waking a couple hours later to walk and pray and write the way I do. One wonders what debt they are paying with such sleeplessness and verbosity or is it perhaps the love to which Emily Dickinson made such rich and mysterious reference? I can still see you in faint candle light leaning over me holding your hair back and how all of Saint Louis then filled our mouths, its river singing becoming glory.

Oh how lovely the choral platitudes of breezes stirring the summery shadowy maples! Oh what gratitude is owed the summer's circling fireflies, who cross every line on every map I ever drew! Oh you queen in my country of turtles, rising so early to lay your head on my shoulder, and gently pointing out where fear still lies in wait. Oh morning of all mornings, when twenty sentences are not enough, and one is too many, as always.

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