Tuesday, July 30, 2013

a moment alone

Overhead, the clouds move, low-slung and widely spaced, backed by sky in an unnamed shade of blue. I've always thought of clouds as two-dimensional. Not as in a child's drawing -- fluffy, rounded, symmetrical -- but like the bottoms of a fleet of irregular boats as seen from underneath: flat, pressed, only partly in view. But as I watch, the edge of this cloud curls under and the whole thing rotates around no axis at all, eddying in an unseen current. Forming, not formed. One facet is shot through with a subtle rainbow and I inhale to speak, to point it out, before I remember that I'm alone. I close my mouth. The color fades.

Monday, July 29, 2013

mother tongue

At the back of the boat there are two fishing poles standing upright: hooks threaded, lines taut, rods flexed with tension. Something on the other side of the lake breathes out and out and out, a continuous exhale that lifts the waves, rifles through my hair, and catches on the fishing line, vibrating, humming, an accidental harp. It whispers two notes, singing in a language I haven't learned to translate. But I listen anyway.

Monday, July 1, 2013

just a little spell

On Friday I walked the dog at 6a.m. By 6:05 I was carrying her home in a cradle hold, her spine draped and sagging like a C between my arms. An awkward weight. With her eyes at half mast, her legs flopped gently with the rhythm of my step.

A fainting spell, the vet said, probably related to her heart condition and her advanced age. Her blood pressure checked out normal and though her energy seemed lower this weekend, she was otherwise fine and bounded to the door this morning, declaring herself fit to walk. But our pace was slow and she lagged behind, joyless and plodding. She'll sleep it off and beg to come tomorrow morning. I don't think it's a good idea. But she won't understand.


For weeks -- no, months -- something has been on the tip of my tongue. Words, I thought, an image. A story? But I examined myself in the mirror and I think it's just been a wad of cotton all along. Fog made material and manifested in my mouth. And I thought it would feel good -- freeing, maybe -- to state the obvious, to accept it, put it out there: I'm not writing right now. Haven't for awhile. Don't expect to any time soon. Why? What's the diagnosis?

But I don't feel free. I feel like I'm staring at a brick wall. A dead end.

Oh, I know dry spells are normal, that sometimes we have to dig holes on the shore and wait for the tide to come in and saturate the sand. But there's no way to know, is there, how long you might lie beached and what might evaporate while you wait.

Maybe the moon is phasing slowly this season. Or maybe the climate has changed. Maybe the sea is already dead. I don't know.