It’s as though we were protected somehow, for some reason, she said, watching the weather move only so far and no farther. Furthermore, she added, I have recovery to perform in the cities. Cross the Mississippi and there, in the leper district, the hands outstretched want another kind of food. And the compassionate silence of the surroundings was where she would be if not here, if home. There, in the woods, where she performs miracles in her mind, the bees are gone, the bear were here, but the honey remains. Flowers fold up at dawn, the nightshade comes down around the stalk and a lovingness attends the silence.
She does her work and leaves the cities, crossing the Mississippi and returning to where her mind sought to go long before now, a place she did not want to leave. But there were thoughts at hand and she needed to think them. So she reached and found. She let herself become what she knew she had always been. She loved the bee-loud glades of this American Innisfree, in the Arctic ice melting around the bear gnashing down the quarry filled with the sharp stick the Inuit prefer using to bring home winter’s first food. It would last out the silence and keep the waters moving under the boats. Here, the Mississippi flows north a few miles, and circling through the town begins its long journey south to the tragic Gulf Coast.
The sun was gone for good. Wind went elsewhere, but too strong not to survive its own journey, and rain kept up the steady sound against the windows. And her hands sheathed in silk, her eyes kohl and intent upon the lens, the hat shading her face, her getup gaudy, garrulous, her tongue light against her moving smile, her teeth thirty-two pearls to be harvested in the Tahiti of coral where her long legs were sheathed against the grasses around the car she was leaning against, making her sign of acceptance of what was coming, as she had welcomed the arrival of the lepers and the hands welcomed her offering, the very presence of her and nothing more precious that her being could see than sky as she leaned back to feel rain on her cheeks, imagining happiness.
(27 October 2010)