What is this thing that seems to sew our differences together? Can we capture it and make it serve us yet? I watch in awe as it follows the white ridges of the northern peaks, impervious to the chill, and meets with the bright cry of morning. As we will meet one day in some form or other, in the throat of the dawn.
Wherefore Tatiana of the Desert in her robes of thorn? She who rode the terrible column of death in its roiling fungal glory and wrung its corded neck so we could live again. In my memory, the last broadcasts called her the Jesus of the Mojave, although that might have been a fever dream fuelled by apocalypse-mind. Messiahs live only in tales, I fear, while actual plagues still roam the actual land.
We come to a field in Iowa where mists lap at the weighty heads of sunflowers like the breath of the dead, where carefully signposted detours off the interstate take us to dreadful happenings behind barn doors and in root cellars, ravagements and heinous slaughter under big and lovely skies.
Much has been lost, too painful to be recalled even in sleep. Glimpses nonetheless. Blue glaciers. Windmills turning slowly in a small sea of tulips. Ambient metal. The curled yawn of a kitten. Zydeco wheezings on the bayou. Guinness on tap near the Liffey. Ferris wheels and tilt-a-whirls. Triassic dragonflies stitching the summer air. Mint juleps. Hardbitten investigators and shrewd, sultry women. Steaming tamales. A volleyed ball into a waiting net. Library cool. Cathedral hush. Blood-red lampshades. Flags and logos. A white boat coming up the river. A chalk-marked cue ball on green felt. Tiny neon fishes through thick glass. Antipasto. Dreams of star quests. The stem of a wineglass. Outdoor applause. Elegance. Sage bundle smudges. Yule logs. Exuberance. The howl of a storm through ruins. All my relations.
In the safety of the shade, an old man speaks of secret fires, reaches for a melody, but nobody's daddy is alive, wound steel and nylon are but memories, and the song dies on the scorched and windless air.
In the heat mirage, immense yellow machines with great burdened heads work the surface of the blacktop, rusted and vast in the early light, seeming to float like tawdry echoes of the giant lizards that once roamed this world of sorrows.
Tar pits await us all, she said, the world is mostly a grave. And she was right.
Ours was fashioned from fear and greed, aided by inertia, and assembled by weak men feigning strength. First they came for the honeybees; then they came for the birds; then the butterflies. Small things, inconsequential to men who counted in real estate deals and fairway handshakes, men whose mouths said development when their makeshift hearts meant plunder.
In the sounds of patent leather on hardwood, amid conference call maneuvers and the market stall barks of commerce, they missed the sudden silences of the trees, the places rubbed shiny and threadbare like an old discarded toy. They desired the whole cloth but ignored when the stitching came apart. And not even Tatiana with her needles of thorn could sew it back right.