it was lush, green and wet. a dewy late morning and I was well dressed for the season. face mask, hat, black jacket, black leggings, comfortable bright orange shoes so cars won’t hit me at night. she led the way having been here before which I prefer. not always oppositional, when it comes to other women, I defer. the trees were budding so still a bit sparse but their leaves were coming in bright where they were. no flowers yet but the idea of them drove me outside daily despite the news. the smell of jasmine and honeysuckle always smell the same to me so that I find joy in discovering which is which. as a child, I spent days with my best friend licking the nectar from the honeysuckle that grew along my fence. along long beds of clovers to the side of us, skunk cabbage grew big and juicy, glistening with last night’s rain..I always wanted to be an insect. anytime I stepped into the woods, I wanted the smallest world immediately. to watch the detritus recycled. to watch the tiniest survivals and battles. to be the millipede among them. I always thought like that. like anything was stopping me from bending down and sliding my tongue along the long leaves or like I wasn’t pint sized and shrinking.
we didn’t go far just far enough to stretch and get some use of ourselves, get out of the house. to take down our masks. to breathe freely in public.
“do you want to stop here?” she asked.
a valley in the middle of trees. I squatted down in the center of a patch of dirt and roots in front of a tiny creek with a little nature made bridge, a fallen log, to cross. remember throwing the jasper in the stream. things I can’t name are always lingering. they are felt like chords rippling from me but felt strongest when being cut one by one. a sudden electric vibration emits as they fall away and I am left holding one end, or rather, letting one end stay suckled to me. my making or the hook in mouth I fell for. I picked up a stick and drew the R big. I made a deal to write it.
R. I drew not so big but with a steady hand so
it was neat and almost cursive.
it could get rained on and stomped
on, but there was my indent.
and I stated louder.
“I call Lilith first.”
I looked up at my companion. it is not austerity. it is commitment. loyalty is love’s true manifestation.I still have every recitation I’ve ever honored, somewhere. these things stay suckled to me like little violent chords I strum when people disappear. when I’m watching clocks at night, I take my finger and I press. it is not austerity for honor but rather commitment to an end. the pious aren’t lonely, just waiting.
“What does Lilith represent?” she asked me, standing, looking down.
I was most comfortable in mud as a kid. now, I am just trying not to touch my face.
“Her myth precludes that she was the first woman on Earth who rejected Adam as he tried to force her beneath him in missionary. she left to mate with demons in the sky instead.”
(there was more that I said in the chant but it is private the way things are private among friends.)
“Oh yeah. We need her,” she laughed.
we both laughed. we both laughed and I put the twig in my pocket. I still have some of my oldest recitations. shells from my first home. dirt from the catacombs somewhere. got pieces of pieces grown quite lush like well drunk ferns.