Let us go then you and I (1). You crawl onto my lap and pull me to you. I sit and stare at the November afternoon. Its grey seeps through me in sullen dampness. When the evening is spread out against the sky, (1) my mind travels back, sifting memories, words, poems. Outside golden yellow leaves hang in a sporadic and precarious dance against time. The wind is whistling through the now almost naked branches and the rain is gushing down in sheets.
We walk beneath the tree. You look up. Inquisitive. The tree’s black bark speaks out in stark contrast with the matte whiteness of the autumn sky. Large raindrops balance like bubblegum bubbles reaching the maximum of their capacity before they glisten and drop, on my hood. Patter, pat. You smile at the sound. You notice a dog walking toward us. You point at it.
I notice the coat of trodden leaves, summer’s release.
But why make so much of fragmentary blue,
in here and there a bird, or butterfly, or flower,
or wearing stone, or open eye? (2)
I notice the leaves now kneaded into a burgundy-brown mulch. I wonder if you notice them too. You like holding and twirling them. On the surface a few just fallen maple leaves, blood orange, saffron gold, lemon yellow create a pattern, almost a mosaic intaglio.
I find my heart going back to memories of summer. So many walks brought us down to the lake’s shore to bathe in its mermaid green coolness. We were inseparable during those heat-drenched days. You and me linked by the hip, the heart, the breast.
The heart can think of no devotion greater than being shore to the ocean—holding the curve of one position, counting an endless repetition. (3)
I think of these days with you. These first months turning into a year. I think of the intensity and the flow. The sublime beauty and the hardship. The lack of sleep. The aloneness, which is different from loneliness. I think of the absurdity that in our culture mothers are silos each one to her own, working just one in a home, doing the work that used to be shared by many hands, mouths, hearts.
For I am the first and the last. I am the honored one, and the scorned. I am the whore and the holy one. I am the wife and the virgin. I am the mother and the daughter, and every part of both. (4)
I miss that. The companionship, the help, the support of other women close by, living life together in an every day kind of way. Sharing tasks. Cooking, singing. The tapestry of our own stories.
Yet even in my own life there is a rhythm, a kind of silent meditation which happens each day, each month, that brings us together especially in those dark nights of rocking.
Watching the moon, at midnight, solitary, mid sky, I know myself completely, no part left out. (5)
Let us go then you and I. (1) You are calling as I write. Pulling me away from these words, jotted down, haphazard on the screen. My life becomes a mosaic of time, fitting in the missing pieces. Finding delicious short moments to write, in between other moments just as sweet with you, to sew together a few words into a fragmentary piece.
The gauge of a good poem is, the size of the love-bruise it leaves, on your neck. Or, the size of the love-bruise it can paint, on your brain. Or the size of the love-bruise it can weave into your soul. (6)
1. TS Eliot, from The Love song of J Alfred Prufrock
2. Fragmentary Blue, Robert Frost
3. Devotion, Robert Frost
4. Thunder: Perfect Mind, Gnostic Gospel, Nag Hammadi Library, Women in Praise of the Sacred
5. Izumi Shikibu, translated by Jane Hirschfield, Women in Praise of the Sacred
6. The Size of the Love-Bruise, Hafiz, Translated by Daniel Ladinsky in The Subject Tonight is Love