Saturday, August 14, 2021

Spring in a Now-Gone Century

Something must be stuck somewhere in the family drama forever unfolding or is my brain just recycling electricity. One day there will be no more elephants - there will be no more turtles - and then what?

Waking early to see if there are stars out, seeing none, and unable to get back to sleep, so making coffee and talking to myself in the darkness, a not-uninteresting conversation. Suddenly we are overwhelmed by the garden, counters full of harvested zucchini, cucumber, tomato, pepper, lettuce, kale, cabbage and green beans, mason jars rattling in pots on the stove, the dehydrator humming near the back stairs. Who do you want to look at now?

My prayer is made of holiday taffy, my dreams are the ocean on a sunny day in July. 

Yet ask: did Emily Dickinson actually die?

A lot gets resolved before the sun rises, writing and thinking and trying out one's voice in more or less empty rooms. Rinsing greens for late morning smoothies. 

And later yet walking past the horses to the river, then along the river until it deepens just past the park, the sound of it drowning out thought, leaving only a body struggling to hold itself upright in currents sluicing between bus-sized rocks.

Matters of trust then. Being good at wrapping presents but not in knowing what or when to give. Blackberries, fire pits, compost piles and other kinds of wreckage. Be honest: does a prayer ever end?

Sounds that remind us we have neighbors. Heavy rains at ten p.m., waking me from a nothingness that I struggle to call sleep. Dad was kind but basically disappointed in me and the feeling was mutual. Blue birds at unexpected hours.

My favorite picture of our wedding foregrounds the cathedral in which we were married one grayish day in the middle of Spring in a now-gone century. Bowls filled to the brim, castles overflowing with jade and pearl - how hard it is to just write a damn poem and walk away, not caring who reads or what they think.

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