Five and a half years after the first.
My friend and I walk through a spice shop. We pull corks from jars and hold them up to our noses, gasping with delight, recoiling in alarm. Paprika, ginger, barbeque rub. The woody sawdust of galangal. Tarragon’s foresty tang.
She tells me about last weekend’s terrible date. The fellow kept fishing for a flirt and grabbing at her hand. She didn’t push the hand away. Didn’t tell him no. She is young. She is still worried about being alone forever.
I wonder when she’ll figure out that fear of the unknown far outstrips the actual miseries we meet? That the ways we guard ourselves becomes our true devastation?
I wonder when I will figure it out?
Continue reading “Your Then To Now II”
Today is a day you send back in time. Your younger self needs a hint, however fleeting, that this day waits for her. She won’t know you’ve hand a hand in whatever traces across her skin. She won’t even know you’re here watching over. Even so, today and the other days like it twine their slender threads around her. Lift her gently from the vortex of whatever drain she’s circling. Help her break the surface.
When she’s found her breath and feet again, she’ll call it luck. Or coincidence. She’ll credit a friend’s arrival, a passage on a new page, lyrics she’s never heard just so. The meds. Her own grit. She won’t know you’ve transported the snapshot complete with its texture, its scent and fizz, to shiver through her senses. She’ll never know, not until later. Until now.
You’re okay with her ignorance. You only need her to stay alive for a little while longer. To reach you. Continue reading “Wonders Small and Large”
You are young but don’t know it.
It is going to be a very long walk. Your imagination
is too small to contain it.
Your ankles will break
and bleed right down through your soles.
You’ll sleep on stone,
host a colony of vermin, upturn a nest of bees.
It is not going to show
itself, the way. Not for miles. You’ll find
a shelter. It will keep off some rain. You’ll hide
out. You’ll rest. You’ll let the forest
night voices whisper themselves hoarse.
You will be good and it will save you
for a while. You’ll get what everyone
who meets you believes you deserve.
You’ll trust you’ve earned your freedom
from your doppleganger’s claim. You’ll recall
of course how it felt to be grabbing back
at the throat of that you-faced everyman
as it clawed for yours. A battle
of reach, both of you lengthening
the distance while bridging
the gap. You will dream it
alive. You will walk on the sunny side
just to be safe.
I will be there
always turning my own face skyward
in a clearing I’ve torn
by hand. You’ll pass so close,
you’ll smell the raw earth.
You will give
yourself away. You will argue
and win the scuffle but not
someone (you thought) promised. You will caulk
the cracks with the climb
the gear. You will see yourself
in photos and wonder
where that weighted stranger came from
and went, how you never noticed
the shadows dropping like molted
feathers across signpost, stone,
face. You had wound the haze
into a skein and packed it up
with zip ties and strapping tape
and locked it in a trunk
and tucked the key deep
in your scabbard.
You will need to hang
to signal or maybe
You will curse the absence
of that lethal cord
just at the moment
and snakes its way back to you.
Every love song on the radio
is my heart’s Becoming
singing to me
and singing me
And I’ll kneel down
Wait for now
And I’ll kneel down
Know my ground
Mumford and Sons: “I Will Wait”
The mist was thick on the garden this morning. I could barely see the blackbirds except for the occasional crimson flash like a splash of blood on the tall grass. The rabbits have come back this year. They are impossible to miss. Some mama decided to keep her babies here and also to invite all her sisters to move in with their broods. I have seen the small brown one at the foot of the bending oak. I can’t imagine it is very comfortable there on its young feet. The roots are knotting up through the packed soil. The acorn tops are tiny daggers hidden among stone.
I hope you make it for a visit. The house has been quiet since the little ones left. They aren’t so little, I suppose, but I can’t think of them any other way. I have yet to put away the stack of games in the living room or to arrange the sheet music in the piano bench. The clutter is a welcome noise. It makes the transition to their absence less abrupt. After a few hours of writing at my desk, it is a nice thing to come down to traces of the children.
Today, a new soup is simmering on the stove. Those dried field beans the neighbor brought by finally made it into circulation. It was fun to touch them, to soak them, and to know they grew in a little patch of soil right here. I like to think of her hands pulling the from the vines. We may not have acres, but what we have, we use well.
The thyme and rosemary are drying, hung from twine at the ceiling in the kitchen. I gave her some of the herbs last summer and so she brought the beans. Come to think of it, this might be a good winter to come up with a more contained system for the garlic and herbs. Green dust and bits of paper skin perpetually swirl on the kitchen floor. I like the aroma, though. I can’t bear to seal all this in jars just yet even if it would make a clean path. It is so nice just to reach up for a sprig of this or that and to toss it in the pan. I still love (love!) that smell of olive oil when it is heating over the flame and calling for me to begin.
I hope to share some of this with you when you come.
Know I am here and waiting for you, sweet love. You are always welcome.
With my heart,
Your Future Self