Letting Go


Chirrup here to there, blanketing night. Song with a single cadence. No melody, yet definite rhythm. Too complex to string on bars, but oh, how we try. Drill the lids. Cap the jars. Light is music captured, or as close as we can get. This summer will last longer than we ever imagined and then we will wake to pelt and boot, forgetting for a moment the ache when sun shined on and refused to wane even as something brighter receded to a background score of tymbal trilling out le fin.

Soon it will be geese, a whole different note repeating against shrinking dusk. Do you know already what I know? Frost has already settled. One sweet harvest, the deep green lift and then, sleep. Inward curl and fallen leaf.

I learned how to rest long before this equinox. Pack off that rangy, furred beast, fat and claw and stink from the prowl. Show her the way. Lay her low under moth and bat, folded wing, damp. She can fall into her uneasy descent, grunting as she settles into a comma marked up on the cave floor. Breath slowing until almost none at all. Dimensional petroglyph, an ancient story. Her hide and the skin of rock marked into one. She’ll appear dead. She may not even respond if you hiss in her ear. Poke her with a stick. Call and call all the names you think might belong to her.

Down inside stone, she won’t remember her own, if she ever had such a thing at all.

Maybe you will be there when ice thins on the morning blade, one drip then another feeding the softening soil. Light will crack the fissure one sliver at a time, heating the blackened place just enough to warm her. Make her itch. Remind her of her hunger.

For this return you can stay or not. Her cardiac thud, once a molten surge, softened to a thrum. Faint. Silent? If you didn’t feel it, you may have forgotten to try. No one ever falls away completely. Parting is illusion. Not she from flesh, not she from the constellation where she has pressed her forever form upon sky. Not she from you.

The stirring will come. It is not Lazarus. Neither miracle nor magic. Maybe not even worth the wait. The pause and rise are mere season and the arrival of an inevitable next.

Dumb beast. Just as the next generation of cicadas hatch below and make their way up to song and longing, she’ll trundle off. Not even a hash mark at the mouth when she passes. Time may not have. Maybe she was never there at all.

Except for a hush. A smell. Except for an impression in the gathered dust.


Happy 100 Days: 96

Out there in the dark, the night creatures sing. The dog and I walk through them, deaf at first. The chatter in my head talks itself hoarse during the first mile. Finally, at the top of the hill where we turn back towards home, the soliloquy decides to pause for a sip of something cool.  I take a breath of September sky. At last, I can hear song.
The music starts with a churning of chirps. Then, an aquatic bass groans, rising slowly at first, sweeping up to its white crest and then crashing. Into that half-beat of rest, the faint piccolo of some distant insect twitters into the fringes of the composition. High up lyrics in the trees thrum against a low insistent rhythm. Some of these things sound finned, some winged. Some may only be visitors here. Some are most certainly in heat.
I walk and walk, the noise echoing against my skin. I walk right through the plush center of memory, returning to the deep blue-black of his sheets where we spread ourselves on our backs next to each other. It was the end of summer. The sliding door was flung wide, opening out onto the balcony and the woods beyond. We held hands and gazed blind into the dark, listening.
With our torn net of words, we tried to capture the sweeping shape of the calls out there. Low, elastic frog calls, intermittent and long. A high whine, a chirrup-chirrup. We listened together, whispering our discoveries. We collected five varieties of song, teasing out the threads, each of us hearing an altogether new strain that the other had discerned first. Finally, finally, we stopped forcing names on impossible things. We lay together sharing nothing but one song as it changed without our consent into something different. We let go without letting go. We no longer remembered to count. At some point before morning, that fleeting chorus lulled us to sleep.
I remember nothing of this.
I remember everything.
Tonight, the thunder rolls in. The dog and I make it home before the rain begins.