Yesterday a caregiver taught me that cats have 13 muscles in each ear. A nursing home resident taught me that a busy elephant is called a multitusker. And a palm tree taught me that it grows beautiful purple berries. Feel it – the slip of space between rib and lung.
Waterfalls of tea fall from the bag floating in cold water. Heated in the microwave until the first sip burned my tongue. All for naught. The magic was in the before. The after tasted like the bad side of nothing.
Ten rain clouds in a row. But in the actual sky, undeniable sun. My eyes seek translucence, gathering the glow and bright shadow like spring’s most brilliant blanket. I wrap it around me for protection against the gloomy days ahead and as a reminder that clouds don’t follow forecasts.
The bower is roofed with white blossoms. If I were six I could spend the afternoon, building my new home. Instead, I sit for a minute on a cool, dark branch and watch joggers go by on the trail just feet away. I wait for a squirrel to finish his scrutiny then I duck back into adulthood.
How is this not a kind of kelp waving in the ocean? Or an anemone? How is this not the grab of fragile new fingers on some tropical creature? Or a bouquet of flames? Or a bouquet of tongues? How is this not tendon and muscle, readying for the season’s work?
Sometimes I think these buds, with their open mouths and capped heads would be enough reason to keep living if the idea to stop living had crept into my bones. Though to know this I’d have to crouch on the sidewalk and look very closely and for so long into their perfect green and sweet clustering that my legs would start to ache and my back would grow stiff and a neighbor would come by and place a hand on my shoulder and ask Are you okay?
All the old seasons remain. The last rough edges disintegrate like old maps and fall under our feet to make fresh mud. Take off your shoes and remember.
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