Thursday, February 21, 2013
We turn a corner and a flock of red-wing black birds abandons a field and heads for the sky, all at once as if by divine decree. I can't see the poetry in anything, I tell my husband. All I write is clunky prose. My baby sits on my lap in the remembered sun and is cajoled into going to school, Ayla's hair thick as moss on her head as I kiss it, as they run. They have my freckles across their nose though not as many as I have, in the evenings they examine tinctures and oils along the sink and want to know why. For blemishes, I tell them, which you might get someday, though I hope you won't. Ten minutes are spent in a car with a book, gorgeous and lush. The earth is swearing it's going to do spring again this year, as it usually does, and for ten minutes I feel it coming, the gathering climax, the sun and the breeze and the book so warm and earth-rich they make me cry. Like the tiny blue birds, one-two-three, I discovered while gazing dreamily out my kitchen window, the one above the sink, where I spend so much time. In the afternoon Indy and I lay side by side on my bed, belly up like rainbowed fish my father once pulled from the water. She lets me tangle my fingers in her wild blonde hair, her wild child crown, her motherless untamed locks. She lets me gaze at her freckles and pin her across my chest, across my belly, the place where she was magicked into being. Life comes from life comes from life. I chop peppers and garlic. I toss curry powder with flour and shake raw chicken into it. I drop it sizzling into a pan. All night my house will smell like an Indian restaurant. Bathe the girls. Pour the wine. The brain won't stop, it spins as if it believes it's the universe, the whole swift planet. It feels raw and gauche. I have flubbed every social situation I've been involved in the past week, the brain misfires, I have actually blushed. Blushed red as I don't recall having done since college. The creative writing professor. Speak up, he said, Your voice is very quiet. You are speaking too softly. Speak up, he said, but I can't. Everything is locked away like an unloved wife who would rather burn than come out. It builds and builds, churning like thunderclouds while I wash a pan, drink a Perrier. I lie down to sleep and in my sheets is a pleasant, surprising smell. Is that the smell of me? Ayla stands next to me while I'm chopping in the kitchen and for a moment I have the sense I am standing next to myself. It seems I can see myself only in the peripheries, the half spaces, like I dwell in another dimension and can't quite reach me. I lie down to sleep but the mind won't rest, it churns out sensations, images that send me stumbling half-naked, fish-bellied, thighs hushing like powdery marshmallows, down the hall. In the hall, down the night. SPEAK UP, he said. In his hand, he teased a match.