Sunday, August 12, 2007

Cheeks Soft As Down

Cheeks soft as down, strings of hair fall soft across her face. Those eyes were closed but I could imagine them open and looking at me as she had once, achingly open and with every memory of such a childhood intact, every memory of such happiness of being together, a family, intact until shaking apart with the slow shudder of an earthquake. How could I not sense the shuddering deep inside her, every memory that went as deep as the earth, feeling the urgency of creation in that urge that rose like the lava of a volcano, skimming the rim. The village I imagine below waits, families by smoldering fires, sipping tea from metal cups. Legs wrap around me and I carry her down the mountainside, breathing smoke. There is nothing else to think of. The breath of us, the sweat and smoke, the threat of annihilation, the way searing of tissue comes. With each shuddering comes a squeeze of tears, and fingernails dig into my slippery neck as I run, stumbling over the rough ground.

Every time I feel the earth shudder, and lightning blaze, I remember. You know the moments I mean, don’t you? I will wrap you in blankets and breathe life back into you because this isn’t over. Our time isn’t over. There is nothing to fear. Safety is what we come home to, what we birth within us as the fire rages around us. We remember the gardens, the blooms, the way ash turns over and over, oily and impressionable. My sweet baby girl, you will forever be, in this memory, though you are grown. The fear of you gone brings me to tears, and I remember dying myself. Joy comes in the morning, we’ve heard, and the rim of the ocean beyond the volcano reminds us as light spills over silver.

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