It was risky, you see, running barefoot down the dock.
Those days I was all sinew wrapped in terrycloth, skin riper than it should have been, teeth so small they didn’t touch one another, just ivory islands in my popsicle-stained gums.
My god, how we screamed and cackled and hip-hip-hoorayed our way to sunset — those humming, chirping sunsets when the sky bleeds into the water and the water wags its tongue, licks the shadowy golden shore where we hid, the lines of our feet filled with mud from the marsh, our hair strung with Spanish moss, that seamstress mother…
I found a house once, as a child, that had been left.
It was a wooden home with a brick chimney, and parts of the walls had crumbled, leaving it open to the fields. A fallen pine, I think, lay across its beams, the deadened branches reaching into the little kitchen, all grown over with weeds and lichens.
It was as if whoever had lived there had stolen away in the dead of night, only, years and years in the past. The furniture, what remained of it, was old-fashioned. …
Were I to wander, say, to a country stream,
wade in, water curled and cool about my ankles,
then bend my tired knees, bring my fingertips low,
to feel the gentle song of the current,
would that melody — an angel’s weeping, a fairy’s aria —
sweep straight through me to be lost again to the deaf forest,
or might it, perhaps, find soft ground in my spirit
upon which to land?
Small things, tiny things, happen in the countryside —
little things, minutia, miracles. The yellow crossvine,
remembering its shape in the sunlight, opens its flower,
and this trumpet of petals…
A great English thinker and theologian wrote one of my favorite lines:
“There is the great lesson of ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ that a thing must be loved before it is lovable.” — G.K. Chesterton
Tonight I’m sitting in my small, tidy apartment, mentally applying this logic to my humble, but very loved, belongings. There is so much room for improvement here, aesthetically and practically. I would love to have a fancy soap dispenser, for example, instead of the plastic Palmolive bottle leaning leaned against my Mr. Coffee. My appliances are a dated and a dingy cream color, not stainless…
Elbows lost in a rack of silk surrongs my mind starts to want some numbers. Like, how many fingertips have ever buttoned a blouse?
How many palms have ever brushed the shoulders of a suit jacket, and how many chins have lifted in the mirror at the sight of stately besuited shoulders?
How many laces looped and tied in all the centuries of rabbits chased through holes? How many snaps snapped, clasps hooked, and zippers zipped?
Isn’t it strange, just a little, we dress ourselves in so many skins?
What becomes of the millions of tiny stitches that carry us…
I believed in the urgency with which your hands
jumped to mine and held tight, like a robin’s feet to the branch.
Sometimes your arms ache with the power you’ve stored inside them,
and sometimes they appear to be as small as mine, hunched and folded.
That day when we laid down in the grass, our knees as pyramids,
our eyes battling the sunlight — I think I knew it then.
Yes, it was there, away from the steamy avenue, sneakers scuffed with tar,
that I knew you loved me, and there too I felt the jump, the snag, the…
The night I spent crying in your bed
was the same night you fell asleep in savasana,
the corpse pose, and that’s how I saw you,
dead to the shuddering, the heaving, the longing
just beside you. Not unkind, not cruel, just
not awake. I envied your peaceful eyelids,
small mountains in the dark, as smooth and gentle
as your palms, open at your sides so thoughtlessly,
as though the night were something you welcomed,
instead of feared.
I’ve made nice with darkness too before,
but on this night the corners of your studio seemed
sharper than usual, the walls less forgiving…
Recovering People Pleaser / Would-be Itinerant Poet / Optimist