The Daisy

After her center went bald the daisy was left to stand in a room owned by the sun; she knew from the feel of his rays on the dimples where seeds had been, by the riffling of his heat against her sere under-leaves like a tattered collar about her throat, by the ache in her roots for water, and by the absence of any green bodily smell—an absence she rued, and with great discontent, though she wasn’t certain why.  It had been with her from near her beginning, this odor that came with her greening, with her first frail reach through a crack in the loam, a spindly pale curl unbending, reaching up until light filtered in and with the light there was bird song.  The songs were air-shifted into notes by other air shuffled by leaves in high trees until they bloated, becoming plump melodies too heavy to stay airborne and sank like the knees of a nun near a narrow cot, where they whispered Grow, grow to the mere thread of her, before sinking further like rain.  And the songs tilted grit in the dark earth as they went, easing the way for root hairs to flow from her source, to cling and rest, feast on worm castings, move on.  It had been an adventure, a two-way fun ride, in which the opening curl of her and the smell of her greening shot ever upwards while her footing slipped by increments through a darkness she trusted without knowing why.

She’s been standing for days in this room of the sun’s and knows it belongs to him by how hot it is kept in the long corridors of July, and by the way the old songs rise out of the earth in waving undulations, silent in their evaporation.  She is exhausted, tired of this bed, this room.  The burred clover crowding her stalk is too green, its small yellow blooms too yellow, but she should not judge, she knows she should not, those lives unlike her own.  Her face lowers.  With every lowering there is no going back.  Her last petals, poor darlings, have loved her too dearly, have clung to her chin like a beard, all their fired bright life wrung out by the bully who rides up the sky everyday to lash all he owns with his infernal rays.   There is no going back.  Daily, her neck atrophies against upward motion and she is a crippled thing, unable to lift her head or turn, unable to spot from what direction her landlord may approach or which door he may take to leave.  Death is slow in arriving, a tardy guest, and the emptiness of her face looks on the floor of her home, now usurped by the massing clover.  She is anxious to know the outcome of all her flown seeds.  Then the roots, idle for such a long time, release what they’ve held and are released.  She is light as a shaft of airborne song, she is song, she is rain, she is earth.

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September 14, hot flashes

You know how you get working at the back of the house and somebody knocks on the door and you don’t hear it and one of the kids answers it or somebody else answers it if you live with other somebody elses.  Or maybe it’s a neighbor and they just let themselves in because they know how you are and that you are home and probably working at the back of the house.  Anyway, you turn around and there they are, the whoever company, perhaps your sister, or your brother, and you’re embarrassed because you haven’t cleaned house all day.  You’ve been making apple butter, peeling apples, doing that kind of thing if it’s the fall and the apples are ready.  You are embarrassed to see them, whoever they may be, because they come unexpected, and you go all warm and flushed with them just suddenly there … Well, that’s how hot flashes come upon me.  Unexpected, while I am busy at something else, working out some minor moment at the back of my brain and then without so much as a By your leave, there all that warmth comes to rosy up my cheeks and prickle me into discomfort. 

 Last night I recorded the moment.  Today I write out what I recorded, thinking all the while about what approaches on tender paths I can’t locate, even when I consciously search them out.  From what direction and in what guise will it arrive, that end of as is and beginning of ever after?  Through what door will it come to leave me powerless to rise from a final sleep. 

 It is my heroine, of course, my Irene of the True Life Adventures who gnaws at imagination, asks me to hold a buttonhook in one hand and thousand-buttoned leather shoe in the other before I decide what road to take a hundred years after choices were made on her behalf.  Silly girl of the human cannonball act.