September 5, 2013

On Waxing Like the Moon. ~ Eshe Armah

I’m stirred up in a beautiful blend of rich, thick and paltry softness that deliciously sets about creating a pattern I’ve never seen before. Swirls of off-white and mocha brown encircle me.

Nature nods her looming head, drops her fruit low and I bend and pick up the succulent scent of the season, licking lips and savoring sweetness in the corners of my damp mouth.

The waters dance at shorelines, kicking sand and salt and merriment around in lapping waves. Winds tell trees which songs to sing. And the birds follow the melody on perches artificially created by lampposts and windowsills.

And I see you. I etched you in my brain when I felt the fold and form of your face under my fingertips that dawn of day. I recall wanting to never forget, while simultaneously feeling cool and warm from creases where your flesh flexed into mine. Spooning. At our knees.

Jealous my feet were. So they playfully kicked you. Wanting to experience what my heart was beating out. The pavement next to you was too far. The small of your back would have to do. It was wrong. I’d do it again.

I take pause to look up at billowing clouds because there is my imagination. And when you travel miles away in the physical form I will live there, crafting stories and conversations. So I gaze at dark nights and light days wanting to get used to the colors from which I will grab you and pretend to hold you to.

And can we talk about the moon, since I can’t directly speak to the sun? She shields herself from me in that hallowed glow. But the moon is vulnerable, all glowy and bright, exposed. I reckon she reveals herself only every so often so that her magnificence doesn’t get lost on forgetting eyes.

I wonder: will I feel like that too? Like if I shine brightly near you I will one day have to pale, forgotten, just so you will look forward to gazing at me again.

And I didn’t know my touch quota was depleted until it was full again. I hadn’t stretched my senses to seven until your breath found home in the depths of my ear. There I could hear you pardon life for not giving me your voice ‘til now, when so many unnecessary sounds had forced their way through. Before words sought small crevices like varnish on old tables and glossed over the dark and hidden things, locking both shine and dirt into place, because both are needed for a story to unfold.

And tables have stories like people. The ones that tell what they have held and held up. The times where they were backed against a wall, and others where they were put front and center. They gather dust and reflect light. They are worn and are useful. They pull friends together and give sound a hard landing. Giving voice to spoons and cups, streaks and stains.

They let life live through them without feeling sorry for themselves. Their worth is intrinsic. They declare. I am a table. I am of use.

But as a human I am different. I push back and climb out of corners. Things set upon me I can use or throw away. I become chair, or plant or food when I choose. Sometimes a soft landing, oxygen-giving, nourishing thing, any which way I become. Over and over again.

With you I became me again. Put back together. Not from breaks, but the place where creases get filled in.

And you. You colored outside the lines and said, “See. Isn’t it beautiful?”

And I nodded because it was. And the student follows the teacher. So I painted a picture too. And held it up and you didn’t see it. You saw the painter. So you already knew the art. And it too was beautiful.

And I was reminded that art imitates life. So I saw your beauty. And smiled in it and laughed in it. And picture after picture was created. The lines between the artist and the muse faded away.

What remains is you and me and the colors of the night. The luggage left in closets and wrong turns and Starbucks half full and men begging for change and too deep sofas and pineapple. Always pineapple. And I stirred it all up wonderfully. Sipped slowly, listened deeply.

So when I saw you, a man with a smile drawn up on one side, I thought, “Please say you will never see me again.” So I can show you, like a waxing gibbous, that I will go away. But, like the tide, I too will come back soon.


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Assistant Ed: Dejah Beauchamp/Ed: Sara Crolick

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