it was a lush late morning.
the trees were budding. sparse still, but their leaves bright verdant where they were. no flowers yet but the idea of them drove me outside daily. the smell of jasmine and honeysuckle lured me, taunted me. who is who? they always smell the same.
I am here and in my childhood backyard with my best friend licking the nectar from the vine that grew along my fence. turned to her, red-cheeked and ebullient, expectant, tiny hands pressed to the metal and tongue free. the way only seven years of age can be before the tongue is tucked bashful in body grown diffident with time. today I am close to all of it but tempered from euphoria, resting in here; the sniffing of the white flowers, the squish of mud patches. I am here and a few other places. let my fingers trace the petals and sniff knowing her crown: jasmine.we walked along long beds of clovers a short distance before stopping. to the side of us, skunk cabbage grew big and juicy glistening with last night’s rain.
I wanted to be an insect when I was younger. be in the smallest world. feel mud engulf me and writhe in its soft center, sink and hide underneath. feel steps above me. not shy but unseen. wanting to be lost in a sea of green blades. to see these monsters the way they were meant to be seen. I always thought like that. what is the world from their angle? what do I look like stepping over, on, picking up with soft hand? like I wasn’t pint sized and shrinking already. like I wasn’t more criminal than that: predacious and intent on acting on it; squeezing first, then picking up the butter knife to saw the worms in half.
we didn’t go far just far enough to stretch and get some use of ourselves. get out of the house. take down our masks. breathe freely in public.
“do you want to stop here?”
I squatted down in the center of a patch of dirt with roots protruding from a near tree. we were in front of a tiny creek with a log across. I could feel my knees crack. remember throwing the jasper in the stream. things I can’t name are always lingering. they are felt like chords rippling from my center and always felt strongest when being cut. 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, I lament, the hook in mouth I fell for. I picked up a stick and drew the R big. I made a deal to write it.
it was neat and cursive.
it could get rained on or walked
over, 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 ceilings 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.
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 (in a yellow bowl). got pieces of pieces grown quite lush like well drunk ferns. an oasis in my house I sip at night when the little violent chords get plucked one by one by one. I watch the ceiling shade itself and touch the other end. I call them one by one.