They finally used the word or one near enough to it and she was not surprised, she almost welcomed it. You can grow jealous of those with a depth of faith that a sentence of months or perhaps less is received with grace and a smile, a nod and a statement “I’m more than ready to go home now, back to my husband.” I hope I will show such equanimity when I am told my time is quickly drawing to an end, but I am left with great faith in myself, and that may not suffice as I prepare to slip away into oblivion.
On very dreary days I like to drive through the cemetery meandering among the stones until I find a freshly dug grave. I stop, under the vigilant eye of the caretaker and carefully place a cassette of Dvorak’s Slavonic Dances or Smetana’s Die Moldau into the player. As the melodies spill forth I hope they lift the spirit of the resting, bringing them a moment of unabashed joy, a memory to carry into an eternity, a lingering riff, sweet as the juice of the strawberry trickling down the chin, a chocolate slowly melting on the tongue. Night will come soon enough bringing a darkness in which they can see their dreams take form and seep away to mingle in the void.
First appeared in Aura Literary Arts Review Vol. 26, No. 1 (2000) and reprinted in Legal Studies Forum, Vol 30, Nos. 1-2 (2006)
So why, pray tell, does my gender even matter, it isn’t like we will ever. meet, and let’s face it, there is a fluidity now which calls binary thinking absurd, so we’ll go with whatever you choose, so long as you realize I am all about compassion and relieving the world’s suffering – thought that might color your opinion a bit, good you got the yin of it
And let’s talk about the whole name thing, I mean, sure, it changes when you change languages, I’m okay with that, I guess but if you are going to use me in Japan why not use my Japanese name, I am particularly fond of Kannon, I’m down with Guanyin, used that one all over Asia, but seriously do you really think I want to go around these days as Avalokiteśvara, I’m centuries old, so show me A bit more compassion than that.
On the map are neatly etched lines drawn by a fine stylus in a skilled hand separating blue from yellow. This soil is cinnamon there tending to mahogany no line, only a post here, one there and a gun emplacement to deter those who cannot see a line writ on water. In the wind the dust dances across and back dodging the post or caressing it it tastes the rain which falls both here and there. High above the buzzard watches the lizard scurry through the shadow of the sign seeing neither blue nor yellow. Halt, you cry are you of this land or that? I am of neither I am the ocher of the land from which I rose into which I will recede I am the mote of dust that lodges in the corner of your eye and in the corner of his until neither can see the line that is not.
First Publshed in Peacock Journal Anthology, 2017 V. 1 No 2
The finches sweep from bush to feeder in a gentle inverted parabola appear head high with a pride reserved for those who fly. The chain link fence is for them no barrier but a honeycomb of perches, full on a warm February afternoon, their song threatening to silence the heart of winter.
The night is that bitter cold that slices easily through nylon and Polartec, makes child’s play of fleece and denim. The small rooms glow in the dim radiance of propane lights and heaters as the silver is carefully packed away in plastic tool boxes. The pinyon wood is neatly stacked in forty pyres, some little taller than the white children clinging to their parents’ legs, some reaching twenty-five feet, frozen sentinels against the star gorged sky. The fires are slowly lighted from the top, the green wood slowly creeps to flame as its sap drips fire until the pile is consumed. Half frozen we step away from the sudden oven heat. The smoke climbs obliterating the stars as the procession snakes from the small, adobe church, the men at its head firing rifles into the scowling smoke cloud. A sheet is draped over the four poles a chupah over the statue of the Virgin Mother remarried to her people. She weaves through the crowd, gringos, Indians, looking always upward, beyond the smoke the clouds against which it nestles, beyond all, for another faint glimpse of her Son.
The sun slowly starts it’s daily retreat, setting the thinning clouds ablaze.
The birds return, ibis, egrets, anhinga and kite and even the limpkin march slowly across the lawn to the preserve that abuts our yard.
They take up their perches on the trees and bushes and on the limpkin’s call begin quietly to recite their evening prayers as we bow our heads in reverence to their faith that the new morning will soon dawn for us all.
He watched as the flame licked at the lip of the candle, the wax slowly conceding and falling in, forming the cradle on which the flame danced. He wondered how something as simple as a wax cylinder could have an inherent knowledge of beauty and simplicity and yet he stared at it certain the knowledge was there. He dared not put out the flame for he could not deprive the night of this momentary beauty when it’s love, the moon had chosen to retreat leaving the stars to mock their small, immature brother.