Absences Sculpt this Scene

No trees, no grass, no water.

(This is my contribution to a A Lair of Withered Grass and Shrubs, an AADK Press publication)

Absences sculpt this scene. No trees, no grass, no water. The death of all things green. It is the swollen, calloused wound of an injury never recorded, yet it is a desired absence, a summoned death.

Chest now heaving, hot air blows in the presence of insects, light almost viscous, yellow heaped mountains, heavy, heaving hot sky. Down the path, a riverbed, dry yet with some withered shrubs, a dull vegetation, always dwindling when approached, a keepsake of the masses of water, memories receding now in the ashen beginning of summer.

What have the floods left you, what wintry corpses? Like my deserted residence, you must have collected some hidden greenness, cavities seething with grape light, scattered traps left from the makeshift hunt for some trumpet's wondrous announcement, papers still reeking of wants, thin ribbons fallen from a hopeful starry membrane. And what memories of that sea never seen by man, so ancient water itself was new?

Legs and lungs now forget the ascent. From the top, all directions lead to the speedy realization of height, this peak and the bottom of the valley the extrema in the flaming sword play of potential and manifestation, the curve guarding the gates of some brittle comprehension. Along the mountainside and down the gravel path, a deserted abundance will once again appear in the empty outdoors. Some animals are there, scarabs and sand rats, some bone remains of only the meekest of creatures, compact muscles encompassing empty stomachs. When humility is forced down with the oppressive sunlight, the most conspicuous absence is that of shade.

Deaths were traded, absences replaced. The paper famine, that withered woman, all species of madness, naked someones – a beastly season. No sense enumerating. Emptiness prevails. Here its reign is written in a lewd, guttural dialect of vacant valleys, punctuated by burnt yellow trails circling the exposed hillsides.

But let go, and this death shall be poured into the cup of speed. The descending path a rebirth, the hot air will hasten to chill, and excitement will amass – over the pebbles and through the vines, until the small compounds clustered on the slopes are seen. Dogs will bark their resentful welcomes, and then on to the road and to the city.

And release, as the green seed is deposited unto the dirt – an ambition exceeding the human, a hope beyond us, an optimism divine – like the gourd is released from the stem. A blessing of acceleration, pious wheels praying clouds of dust as prosperity increases, sweet gladness shall not withhold eternity, a tiny roar sings, wind rejoices to the gentle racket of metal bits, countless beaming buds opening. The riverbed is now growing, life is discerned in tiny gleaming pools of liquor from winter's toasts, no death, no emptiness, no room for absence & all.

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