It drifted down like a maundering dream from the heavens not so high above; a certain time of year when the afternoon disguised as dark lowers itself into a hollow and downturned pair of hallowed hands, pinprick punctured with the light of stars and flaring into the rim of sunset, now several hours gone.
It crept up my right arm where it landed and crawled across my shoulders, pausing a while to breathe on the torque of my turning neck, tiny handprint upon my nuque, and died below the left ear, leaving a love letter addressed to one who had not seen fit to witness this.
And the colors, there was light enough to see by, but not the details—proof lay caught in the silhouette of the bare-branched trees. Dead kites, both the feathered kind and strung, among the spidering reach of leafless fingers that make strange shapes in the water of the dying weekday. It is not even a place I recognize.
I have waited here ten thousand hours, in all moments just like the one in passing. And I have been laid claim to, by you if you could just believe it—lifetimes before I even remembered I was supposed to be alive.
Now there’s a thread; toes among the frozen grains of sand.
Before this weather turned stubborn, sterile, there were the rains. Days upon weeks of wet. We won’t fish for the antediluvian friends of the song and season that makes our hearts ache so. We won’t look at the happenstance patterns that our bodies made in the dear old damp of summer, dewy smiles and all. Precipitation was a method of cleansing, and forgetting, and letting go of the growing back. Lining our borders with blue geraniums: who had seen such things! And cockleshells in plenty. We were rich then, wealthier in reckless indiscretions.
And prosperity lay upon her gluttoned side, exhausted from the thrill of attainder (there goes malcontent, and with her, skinny miseria) and for the sake of satisfaction, to give slavish devotions to our most beloved.
Was it a joke then, silly laughter notwithstanding, to sit at the writing-table and dictate correspondence addressed to you: ten minutes hence: in the upstairs sitting room? Guess again—the floorboards ached at such churlish flights of fancy. They knew that such soap-bubble hours would leave us, and quickly. Hemisphered upon the floor, how could they have had a chance?
Perhaps they would have lasted longer in the humid echo of the tiles, where drops of water joined to form cross-cut puddles, reflecting the bathers chastely covered by their brothers, the virginal white frocks of foam that we had attired ourselves in for the evening. I imitated the dessicated sea-creatures, demonstrating the death of the mollusks upon some foreign shore, until you tired of teacher and pulled my foot toward you. I was afloat in the ocean then, at one with the cadences of the season, just me and ancient tides until my eyes were suddenly underwater, and I sat up and cried. Just a little, to make you take that smile away from your reluctant lips.
But you promised that you’d make it all better!—and this little sheep was foolish to believe it when no change would arise to result in this fortuitous alteration of circumstance—but I was always, tenfold and two times over, a little short in good judgment when it comes to you.
The story has grown and been added to, taking out the unnecessary and clipping back the parts whose fruit grows small and pale, and giving forth large opiate blossoms in the discontented season (the best of us for all year ’round).
Now it’s cold, just like you like. Or would that have been a fancy of mine? You’d always feared to free me in December’s heedless diffidence.