The Insistence of Forward Motion & the Wildness of Love
1. Coming unfastened
My middle son was all gold, too small to show over the top of the counter in the arcade. He was looking at parachute men and plastic dinosaurs but I thought I'd lost him. I still hear buzzers howling, counters dropping as everything raced. I could not think where else to look, looked everywhere except behind the counter.
2. Who's to say it was wrong?
Mark was small and dusky, also a middle son, never at a loss when sent to find the cow. My grandfather made a gift of the secret, gently putting a grandaddy longlegs in his open hand, whispering the question. The spider would gravely raise one leg to point the direction, and Mark went into the deep woods with a confident step.
3. Neurological detritus
Now I'm filled with habitual material, repetition I never asked for. Misfiled proteins in the cosmos of my head ensure there is no stillness for me. I'm here to unsettle and disassemble whatever I have lost since childhood, debris now fetching up, cracked and sun-faded, my brain's river wrack. I don't want any of it—I was never a saver of mementos.
4. Confluence of desire
Indecision is typically too busy for me. I spend my time hammering fives into an S shape, flipping sevens to use as a makeshift letter L. Can't tell you what all I've unheld or remade, how my footprints are long washed from the mud. You know what I wish I had? All those cassette tapes I made for the boys of us reading and singing together. Even without them I remember.
5. Collapse of distance
There's a river under the Thwaites ice sheet, a thousand miles from any research station. Here and beneath the glacier the world shifts lanes, changes gears, engine warm and thrumming. I would never have thought to look or find a river there, nor the white flickering creatures who live within—the wild who will inherit the earth.
6. Desire paths
The coyotes have crushed paths through the weeds. Doesn't matter if there's no trail or tilled field, familiarity doesn't factor in. Shade to shelter they go, making place. I walk on my trails, breaking webs I never see. What is the end of our desire? Resolve, perhaps. An unquivering ability to take those first steps out, in whichever direction. What is tame about that?
The Boat She's In Is Made of Salt
Her emotional reserves are a silk handkerchief or sail. Once it was every color and sang. Wouldn't it be a pleasure to count again the thousand threads and lullabies? She dedicates her fingers to rubbing right through and this works.
The boat goes next, stinging against her wrists, her arms and elbows. There's a ritual to it, isn't there? Tea would be perfect about now, and she mentally sets the kettle on, sifts through her files to Baihao Yinzhen, White Hair Silver Needle.
The river smells warmly of salt, tea, clouds. The withering of white tea leaves is a natural process. Have you counted three days? The river opens her mouth and swallows, spits out foam and egg casings. They bump gently against the plastic bottles and silk floss on the embankment.
She feels the river rising in her pores, gleaming along her cheekbones. Underwater she weeps. And flirts with the silver alewives flickering in the shape of her former boat. They are prow and scales and dancing. My god, so much still shines!
This is leave-taking, the merry wake. She is rooted in mud and milk, angles her chin toward breaking through. Doesn't one world sluice into another like water on a mirror? Nothing more can block the light.
Watched by crows and friend to salamanders, Lisa Creech Bledsoe
is a hiker, beekeeper, and writer living in the mountains of Western North Carolina. She is the author of two full-length books of poetry, Appalachian Ground (2019), and Wolf Laundry (2020). She has poems out in Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Chiron Review, Third Wednesday, Otoliths, ANMLY
, among others.