trace my hand along the delicate serrated line where the ridge meets sky, all white above and below the brown demarcation line where mountain ends and sky begins, a litany of snow falling along the narrow path, the minuscule climbers, too small for naked eye, trudging through the storm, coats clutched to chests, never for a moment aware that the scene, the ridge, the world entire is just a teacup in the palm of the hand, held aloft, so fragile, prone to all sorts of risings and fallings, bone China, fragile to the touch
for so long now I have seen Ophelia’s clothes each time I scoop leaves from the bottom of the pool, of the well, of the teacup of memory she comes back to me with a plaintive song about the boy whose soliloquies broke into a thousand words over water, hovering over the surface of the deep, almost a song until you cannot swim, touch the bottom and feel only tangled leaves, no solid ground to stand on if only she could get herself…well-to a nunnery, of course…high walls, soft voices sorting who or what is safe if not the boy, the beautiful boy with all his talk of infinitives of being….being, just a leaf in water, weightless until it begins to rise over her incendiary last infinitive thought-to be or not to be.
If you asked me how I knew it was you I would touch your face and say aardvarks!! Anteaters!! Warthogs!! Your humor as unmistakable as your wit, odd they all refuse to see you, you in the over-sized retro flippers, ducky float ring and wild Hawaiian print crashing the party, the holiday, the cozy churchy potluck making almost everyone supremely uncomfortable. Everyone except the children who delight in your flamboyant honesty, your failure to adhere in any way to our sheepy ways, shorn and alone
You hand off the flowery shirt, the float, the flippers (none of which you ever needed)
seamless garment to sunblind guards
World go dark, pain and love
it surprised me, the way it lay there, lifeless, serpentine (of course), river bed without water, lifeless coil, fist of a thing torn apart darkness obscuring whether it was bone crushing or venomous lying dead in the street alone, waiting for answers
Answers or vultures
you float for a time in the “even so,” casually, miraculously, inexorably growing limbs and features and organs, that all-important beating heart. No one tells you meanwhile in “Houston…we have a problem” or that the problem is something you cannot (would not)
/girlness /not boyness, your binary /identification /of /gender
Will be enough to terminate the mission
… when all along you have done your best in the beautiful floating weeks of the “even so”
You matchless irreplaceable girl-in-the-now, girl-for-a-moment
Until mission control
tiny dancer, rocket girl
A country, just like a single old-left-foot-house-slipper can be metonymous. This-for that, quid-pro-quo, how-did-I-ever-lose-you?-metonymous. Hit me at 2 am, sharp intake of breath too hard to connect it all with proper punctuation metonymous. I once accidentally cut your hand in a car window metonymous. When I met you I thought you were the crazy one metonymous. Lost in Pittsburgh a million years ago metonymous. With you the reason for years of silence had to be different metonymous.
The countries I have lost all have proper names, stable addresses, no missing slippers. Us-and-them, before-and-after countries cheerfully conventional, intentionally respectful, naturally leery of the once-familiar mendicant whose metonymic wholes have been for good or ill
Irrevocably set free.
his button-down shirt matched the color of his gun and his ten-gallon hat matched his jeans as he brandished his weapon with bravado in the the store-of-lost-things on the corner of the city named for the patron saint of them, poor Native Americans, at some point the irony of namesakes and saints’ days and lost things must have haunted them the way it haunts me as the Nissan with the cat inside next to the bustling night school faces its own lost place on the street named for flowers where a brown bottle will spread its broken pieces like water pooled on the edge of the sidewalk, so close to art, so close to lost on the very edge of the world