Pages

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Negative space (A cadralor)

Near Ernst tinaja, Big Bend National Park,
photo by Geoff Gallice, 2011

1.
Drawing a nude model (oh no not
naked, we say “nude” and I never
thought to ask why) I was taught
to seek the open spaces—as one
example, the soft triangle made by
the inner elbow and bottom of the
rib cage, arms akimbo. We called
it “negative space,” a way of seeing
that’d flatten a whole person, turn
them into an object, the openings
around their life fixed in place like
butterflies pinned by this gestural,
analytical thinking that empties me.

2.
I didn’t much care for exploring
the steep sandstone ravines near
our campsite; too much risk a storm
miles off would bring flash floods,
trap us there. (I have some fear
of drowning, even in the desert.)

3.
Your cupped hands create a tinaja for
the rainfall that fell from the faucet. The
blessing of plumbing, of brazing to join
the pipes; astonishment at your body’s
everyday movement and ease, its grace.
Is it any wonder I love watching you as
you bend towards the sink, set the water
flowing, palms held to receive that gift?

4.
The joy of this world—there are no empty
places, everything is full of energy and life—
is equally its horror.
The biome of the gut,
the hollow tube that pierces us. Archipelagos
where the most violent exchanges occur at
microscopic scale, whose tiny denizens first
preserve us, and then, at last, consume us.

5.
There’s a shallow valley on the bed
that’s still warm, where the sunlight’s
pooling, where your presence is felt
in absence. It’s spring, now, it won’t
be long before the bumblebees lose
their balance, tumbling down off the
flowering currant. The way I lose my
balance, tipsy on all this sweetness.

No comments: