It’s those little deaths piling up on my doorstep that break me down. The mud-stained yellow of a magnolia warbler, eye half-shuttered, one wing broken and spilling bones; the now unreadable parchment of what was once a house gecko. All these small wild things stilled, and no witnesses save for butterflies who’ve come to sip what’s left. I’m fit for sadness small enough to carry in hand, but know bigger grief waits patiently, stalking me.
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
"Heat Lightning near Louisville, Kentucky," B. Badgett, 2010
It’s five in the morning, and I’m moving through the shadows in shadow by touch, unsteadily scuffling with small ravines. A ghost – its spin axis a pale torso – drifts past, trailing a sound like brushes on sand, gleaming for a fraction of a second in the glint and shudder of heat lightning. Storm’s so far off I can’t hear it, but it’s close enough to press its gold coin into my eyes as it passes.
Thursday, June 25, 2015
Sweat like nettles where I’ve chafed, the pointed burn of a fire ant unhappy with my position in life, a rebuke after dinner: I’m so thin-skinned, tears abrade as they well up, sting as they dampen my cheeks. It’s the heat of the day, of some moment clinging to itself, you say; but I know it’s the broken shards cutting underfoot after we brought the hammer down on this shell of a world.
Tuesday, June 16, 2015
The damp air becomes a spicebox as I walk between floods. The smell of rotting Johnson grass, retted blades waving from beneath piles of brush like some drowned Ophelia; the last star jasmine, sweet overlaying petrichor; the ammoniac smell of bats under a bridge. In this way I navigate between the sacred and the mundane, nose twitching, moth to the flame shining on my fingernails.
Tuesday, June 09, 2015
There’s a mirage along the far edge of the playa, and I’m slowly walking towards it. I measure distance in time here: the weeks since I started, how many more weeks to travel, as the skin of the alkali basin crackles under my feet. The moon sets, and the air drops its furious heat into a thermal sinkhole. Now I can see it, the tilted uplift lined dark on dark by the absence of stars; the mountain still weeks away, still months tall.
Sunday, May 31, 2015
Monday, May 25, 2015
The multiplicity of succor within a storm, if you remember how to tip your gaze up and back into the rain. Artemis Ephesus of clouds: not the Untouched Huntress but the All-Mother, many-breasted, pendulous, thirst-slaker. Those who study the surface things say she was born in steep gradients in moisture, temperature, wind shear across anvil cloud boundaries. An unfortunate reduction of complexity, I think. Are they afraid to name her fecundity spanning time, her bronze and marble idols, her uncanny gray-green skies?