Thursday, January 24, 2013

how long ago, it seems, i started out

Family is sometimes a question.
In these rare cases
my mother is the answer--my mother
with her pesto chicken pumpkin
My mother
dainty and perfumed as a soft,
gloved hand. My mother
so dear and lovely
looking out of the window at the weather
then telling Nessa:
Put your sweater on or else the cold
will catch you! It doesn’t happen
that way--I wanted to say,
stooped over cereal, counting milk
bubbles, to make sure I could still
count. I had lost it all
so many years ago--but I lost
the number of years
and now I never glance back. This
is the only form of time travel
I know:
Looking out for a moment unto
the thin fog and feeling
an eye of light, a clean origami
flower, unfold inside me
and present itself as
Family, the answer to that
long, sweeping question:
Mother? Family.
That is all I know.

Friday, January 4, 2013


              In Veruggia the houses resemble tin boxes--the ones that often carry tea leaves--and they are arranged cleanly along the streets, each a different color.  There are thick-waisted palm trees and the clouds are ironed flat against the sky. When I first arrived it was late afternoon and the sky flaunted a gold dust hue. I felt light and hollow, almost as if I could suddenly float away. The nearby fried-fish smells, huddled with the scent of hot, splattering oil, made me feel a little dizzy and peculiar. Then there were the ripe, bright smells of blooming flowers and the less pleasant stench of dog shit smattered on the sidewalk and car exhaust trailing around street corners.            
I walked until I found myself atop a squelchy knob of land that overlooked the pale pink ocean. The earth beneath my feet felt porous and I soon discovered that it oozed ocean water. From afar, the ocean had resembled a melted gumdrop, and upon moving closer, I discovered that its pink color was the result of several million squirming shrimp. By now the sky had purpled and the temperature settled into a firm chill. I watched a flock of birds fly past until they resembled a scatter of peppercorns across the sky. Then I noticed a mother and her child sitting upon a bench and blowing bubbles through a bubble wand. There was something strangely peaceful about the bubbles, which moved so slowly that they almost seemed frozen in place. It was then that I remembered how I first arrived.            
It had been an oppressively warm day, so I had decided to leave my house and indulge in a short walk. As I walked, the oily air slid around my elbows and greased my fingertips. I had thought, mistakenly, that the outside temperature would be cooler but I soon discovered otherwise. I quickly began to feel thirsty, and just when I thought I could no longer withstand my thirst, I came upon a water fountain in the middle of a park. It was smooth and silver. I placed one finger upon its cool, slippery rim and felt refreshed. Then, before I even swallowed a slurp of water I saw the bubble suspended perfectly above my nose. It was so beautiful that I found myself instantly distracted. I searched a moment for its source, but my gaze fell too soon upon its shimmer, its swirl of greens and blues.  Then, not a second later, I arrived in Veruggia.
I pondered the possibility of Veruggia being a world within a bubble. It seemed like the only explanation that would make sense, so I decided to adopt the theory in place of the others that had begun to take shape inside my mind. I then wondered what might happen if the bubble were to suddenly burst. The prospect only filled me with a watery discomfort so I decided to walk again among the streets and relish the green and yellow of the buildings. It was then that I came across the young girl and her glittery bubble wand. She was seated on the porch of a house that I did not remember from before. It was painted lavender and there was just one window, at the top, and it was left slightly open.
Veruggia is most beautiful in the falling moments before sunset. I decided this while studying the hills in the distance, speckled with smudges of pink. Then, of course, the sky, which boasted a cornucopia of rich color. A rare breeze suddenly plucked a bubble from its place and drew it towards where I stood. I swiveled around, in search of the young girl, but did not find her. Instead, I suddenly felt weightless, like my insides had whizzed away. Then it ended as quickly as it had began.  I stood, once again, before the water fountain and inside the park. The world around me was submitting to its own slow darkness and the park was nearly empty of all people. I stepped forward and decided to continue my journey back home.