Thursday, April 16, 2020

The Soul Swam Through Me Like a Shark

Leafless maples encased in frost. I lean into the barn door opening it and pause before entering so the chickens who are briefly alarmed can collect themselves. Whatever you do, do it with love.

Sometimes I go further than the village out to where the winter stars are wild and bright and my loneliness intensifies to something beautiful and sustainable. On Saturday morning, the traffic picks up later than usual, and one writes in pleasing quiet until almost seven a.m. The specific way in which Emily Dickinson will attend you because of the specific way in which Jesus attended her.

The horses plod over crunchy snow to nose then eat the flakes of hay thrown there by the Man without Shoes (who is, of course, shod). Order appears at a late - but not too late - juncture and one's prayers appear to be answerable. Church bells, crow calls and so forth.

A smear of cinnamon on my left thumb. The way in which what was erotic - which in context was necessary - abruptly ended, leaving not absence but emptiness in which the soul swam through me like a shark. I sweep the choir loft with care, pausing to listen to the amazing echoes, grateful to have been allowed even this close.

Clapboard rots under the spigot, the handrail on the back stairs collapses under snow and ice. I forget to check traps in the attic which after a while becomes a good reason to forget to check traps in the attic. Stomach pains which remind me of my grandfather's stomach pains and the brave way he said goodbye to me, all those years ago in a Fall River hospital (whose name I cannot remember).

Correspondence can break things, too. Two cups of coffee fuel the writing a certain way, don't they. You can blame the previous owner or you can give attention to the happiness of future owners: what do you think Jesus would say?

My heart empties as if in preparation. Beyond the many rituals, the need for rituals, and beyond the need for rituals, what?

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