I look down and watch his body as it is pushed and pulled by the soft-approaching tide. I've trapped hundreds of insects in my mouth as I wait for him to stand, as I wait for him to blink. I want him to wake and ask me what it tastes like.
And when he does, when he does ask me this, I will laugh, and that will be a good enough answer.
I've been watching him for hours.
One by one I swallow the insects; the ones that haven't already found their way to my belly. My body hums. My insides bear life. I call myself "Mother".
The edge. The tree on the edge. The tree with every kind of branch you could dream of. I've wrapped my hair around each one of these branches and swung myself to sleep as a lonely child. The willow branch made me forgetful when it came to matters of the heart, the plum branch gave me the air of someone important but deceptive, and the oak branch cured my headaches.
My abdomen pulsing with activity, I effortlessly reach up to tie my hair around the neglected olive branch near the very top. My hair is tied, the sun is rising; I lower myself down and swing gently in the breeze. Our bodies sync to the give and take of our surroundings.
William Etty, Hero, Having Thrown herself from the Tower at the
Sight of Leander Drowned, Dies on his Body (1829)
That gentle pushing and pulling of the water and the wind.
The olive branch breaks yet I hover in place. My children keep me
afloat and I am not afraid of anything anymore. As the sun
continues to rise, they agree it is time for sleep.
I am lowered from the top of the tree, past the cliff, down
to the beach and laid across his chest. I am comfortable here.
I will stay here forever.
I close my eyes and with my last breath,
so goes every mite, locust, mantis and moth.
My reflection follows my every move carefully, deliberately. She cannot give way for time to separate us or she’ll be fired. She asks me to consider that shit banality "everything happens for a reason".
Like a goodly reticent proud-woman, I tell her that I believe my reason, and everything that happens in tandem with it, is to push the moon farther away from the earth.
I cannot push it far, but someone else in a different life, a different time, will finish what I have started. They will place their hands in the same hollow my own palms left and they will feel the moisture of my skin and the swirl of my fingerprints. They will hear my laughter as it rolls around behind their eyes and they will taste the salt of my tears from the feet up.
I look at her, my reflection. I thank her for her attention. Her precision. She replies in a different language--one that died 17,000 years ago. I blush at her response because I have no idea what she said and watch as she fluctuates between the ages I’ve known and the ages yet to come.
I struggle to keep up.
As I follow her every move deliberately, carefully.
Charles Robinson, The Sensitive Plant (1911)
I come to you from that dark spot in your vision that you get from looking directly at the sun.
I live there, in that dark spot, and wait for you to invite me out.
You don't look at the sun as much as you used to. These days, you observe the phases of the moon and tell stories about how the stars led you back home, once.
Laid out under a black sky, comfortable beside black water
She is nuzzled in the bend of your neck. She fits perfectly.
It kills me.
You kill me.
I kill time.
I stare at the sun.
John Bauer, Lithograph 9 (1916)