we felt the first glimmer
just as the shadows of the
something deep inside
our glass bodies
sugar to wash away
we hadn’t realized
had consumed us.
slowly the needles that had
pierced our bones
began to fall away
into the call of a bluebird
as a violet pushes through the earth.
i was preparing to take my first breath
a thousand damselflies
carving the wind
with their marble wings.
they filled my mouth
fizzing and crackling
and my throat bathed in silver
and the smell of grapefruit.
and i felt my toes leave the cold dirt.
we rattled down the road in the loud red pickup truck,
the one that lost chunks of metal with each bump,
you with the curls burned in your hair.
in my periphery the prickly pear cacti began to dance,
violet in the moments after the sun slips into dreams.
it took me half a lifetime to understand
i had neglected to teach you the ways of the wild,
the amber of a chickens eye,
a drop of maple sap on the tongue,
a dragonfly pausing on your paddle before you dip it back into the dark,
the smell of the damp dirt and tomato leaves,
a monarch stretching its wings in a yawn,
the sweetness of silence as your ears fill with constellations.
what a world we would live in if we took time to write love letters
it’s time to understand,
a flame with ache and fever to consume is your cousin.
the minerals in magma crystallizing as it turns to rock, your uncle,
and the waves that roll and rumble, your aunts.
the wolves that stalk silently through the ferns are your siblings.
each flash of lightning and growl of thunder, your father,
and the inky blackness of a moonless sky, your mother.
luckily it’s not too late for me to introduce you to them.
i take your hand in mine and we begin.
she wore constellations in her hair.
sacred deep within the granite.
she found meaning in the spirals of eucalyptus,
a tsunami dancing on the horizon,
a solar system in the sand,
the sweetness of grape tendrils spreading over her tongue,
the dog with the white eyes never far behind.
she saw memories in the ginger sun and slate moon,
their infatuation pulling the ocean close,
so it could sing its wisdom to the young girl.
myths carried on manta ray wings,
survival in the chemical reactions as a starfish kissed its way across her silk skin,
truths in each tiger shark tooth,
the complexity of light as it energizes kelp with iridescence,
traditions in the ruffles of soft tangerine and lavender corals.
secrets sweet as honey.
golden nectar collected from
passion flowers on other planets,
jasmine blossoms that determine the fate of the twilight,
the water lily that the first life blossomed from.
she invited the lore that the land shared.
breathing in crimson as she pulled apart a pomegranate
a message in each drop of blood.
she didn't understand why light was ringing like silver bells
or why the wind was suddenly so chewable.
when she bit into the ninety degree peach
she drowned in a kaleidoscope of turquoise and gold.
a geometric growl made her turn
just in time to watch the trees unfurl.
she laughed as the smell of the humid summer night
wrapped around her in a tight hug.
and when she entered the river
the fish kissing the tips of her flowing hair
sang a slow sad song.
this is why you turn to the desert
in hopes of finding something to salvage.
in hopes of understanding the importance
of every part of the plant.
you hope you'll discover the moment that the plaster
on your bedroom ceiling started to crack
and the reason your mother doesn't laugh anymore.
maybe you'll finally catch up to the fox
whose tracks you've been following for years
and witness the last sliver of ice
become nothing more than molecules.
the air is full
of velvet and moss and seafoam.
the silence so heavy you get stuck in your inhale.
the rest of the world has disappeared.
your body enveloped in emptiness
and you find that something worth saving.
if i could touch the sun
caress her face
and tell her of terrestrial violence
maybe she could touch the face of each human
and make them understand
but she only speaks in fire and darkness.
so we keep trying to tidy the fireflies that fill the sticky sky
our roots interlacing with the poison soaking into our skin
tucking trilobites into an envelope to save something for our grandchildren.
i didn't want to meet the man pulling up at the corners
but when i looked i saw only myself
watching as the chaos of capitalism corroded our world
so i stopped and shouted into the light.