elizabeth lane lawley
michael "OC" clarke
e v h e a d
sweet fancy moses
wood s lot
m. melting object
Friday, September 06, 2002
Coyote howls. Dreaming me so long so far.
Against the shoulders of the mountains, mighty thermals rise, swept up along a thousand miles of jungle sloping off below. Every day for a million years clouds mass as this tropical wind rises toward the glacial peaks, darkening into thunder until lightning rips their bellies out. It rains.
Torrential flooding as if the world had turned upside down, oceans pouring from the sky. For hours, then it stops. The wind comes up, shredding what's left of the clouds. Sunlight breaks again across the forest canopy. A bead of water like a teardrop runs down a green-veined leaf. Falls.
On the shadowed jungle floor tiny rivulets form, connect, connect, begin to rush together into boiling streams, raging over rocks and fallen trees, leap out a hundred feet into thin air, plunge among rainbows into the cauldron heartbeat of the world. Desire is an endless river.
I was in it with her for a while, joined it seemed as if forever. Flowing together, the river opening out, always and everywhere her mind my sky, her eyes my fire. And then... and then the film broke. No sense, no reason, no way to stop her going. She swam to the far bank, walked away without a backward look. But I was caught in the current that had carried us, too weak to push against it, too broken to escape. What had filled my heart now emptied it. No use in trying to stop the river. I did try, but it was too strong. One man alone against such loss, such sorrow. Hopeless. In despair.
I prayed for night. For a darkness so deep I would disappear. The ache dissolve. Life end. Exhausted, I lost all hope, one by one cut the threads of this life, whatever had held me here. Desire once so deep now like a poison flood that carried me away. Away forever, never toward. I let go and let the river take me, to drown me, to grind me on its rocks, to leave me for the raptors circling down, sky closing in, love ruined.
I came to on the shore, washed up, battered but alive. I checked to see if the pain was gone. It wasn't. After the first shock, I was afraid, and I lived in the fear of an emptiness I came to recognize as myself, my heart a vacant mirror.
I made a fire on the edge of the river, watched it as the moon rose, forgot to count the days. Slowly I learned to breathe again. A little. Then drowning in memory. Then opening my hands to the earth. Then clawing the ground. Then parched and crazy. Finally drinking the water of my fear from the river itself. And I knew then why I could not leave it.
I don't know how long I was there. Day blurred into night and it made no difference. I sat and watched the river. I began to listen to its many voices until they merged into a single music. Began to move with its rhythm. Here is a rock, a stick. Here is time divided into beat. Strange song came from my mouth, a new way of breathing. Air mountain burning skyfall open heaven. Thinking about this love. Coyote dreaming me. So long. So far.
One day I saw a small boat drifting toward the place I was. I waded out up to my chest. I felt the river's pull, reached out my hand, grasped the top edge of the boat. Looked and you were in it. You were asleep. I drew the boat to shore, wedged it against the rocks. You awoke, opened your eyes then, looked at me. I'd never seen you before. Then why...
...do I recognize your face, your eyes, your voice. How can I feel your heart so deeply? Some magic growing in the space between us. Some impossible joy. Echoes of a future not yet lived.
"Were you dreaming?" I ask.
"I must have been."
"Was there a coyote in your dream?"
You look at me for a long moment. Time stands still. You say, "Push the boat back into the current."
I am sad to see you leave so soon. We have just met. I push the boat back out. But don't let go. Not yet.
"A coyote, yes," you say. "Get in."
Time starts again, beat of my heart the beat of yours. Thinking about this love. Adrift with you clouds mass above, the rains begin. Lying in the bottom of the boat, I touch your face. Blue fire flickers between us, lightning feeling its way to a strike. On the bank a thousand year old tree explodes in sparks and splinters, no time at all between flash and thunderclap. Our lips meet, tongues speaking a secret language so easy suddenly to understand. They say desire is an endless river.
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