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.


21 October 2008 : Tiny Spiders

The sliding glass door remains open much of the time, too difficult to contend with, and wind gusts, the same gusts that push the palm fronds around, push spent bouganvillea seeds around like Cottonwood breezes loft dandelion spheres.  Today I have thought, several times, each time I go out to put laundry in or fold clothes from the dryer, that I owe a great debt to the tiny spiders who build webs in the corners of mi casita.  They anchor their webs, invisible to these eyes, at the top of the base molding and make something of a transparent sail that ties off to each wall.  When the light-as-air bouganvillea (or perhaps clematis?) spheres, not quite the dimensions of a ping pong ball, roll in in their star shapes and tumbles, they are caught by the web sails built by the tiny spiders.  At last count, there were five of these star balls pyramiding that one corner, just inside the difficult sliding glass door that I seldom close and never approach without smiling.

When working on Irene, I pass back and forth by the stacking seeds and nod at the spiders I can not see as I pass outside to consider what scene comes next.  Today all the spiders and seeds whispered “Moses, Moses” and so I spent time with my scarred Chinaman.  It’s a draft.  Not the kind that fills sails or moves seeds, but a draft, all the same.

I never realized before how difficult it is to write about disfigurement while holding onto beauty.  Or how clever very small spiders can be.