> jumping into life.


How much, after all, does language shape being? A recent study shows that speaking in different languages can alter personality. (Warning: link is to a big fat pdf.) Personal anecdote agrees. How would I feel about my impending move if I spoke Hawai'ian and hello meant goodbye? If there were only one word for both house and home? What if I were Apache and my sense of morality tied to the placenames of my landscape? What if the stories that shaped my life were based on this one place? Or on none, or on an imaginary place instead? I want a thousand words for rain, one for the rain that falls in the morning so that the world smells like pine pitch and creosote when I wake, and another for the rain that pounds the roof so hard it wakes me from a dream, and another for the mist that rolls over the hills and breaks my heart.

What is a word? It is nothing. My memories don't begin until I began talking. Words have ended my life, and saved it. Sometimes the word silence echoes in my head all day. Rarely silence itself. We laid together until I said, "Leave." But not in so many words, you understand. What I really said was, "I'm sorry." Sticks and stones can't even compete.

A word? Nothing but the vibration of desire against flesh, the rush of breath and the clack of teeth. Cuneiform and graffiti. Oh, how can hello mean goodbye? I don't believe it.


For the record:

Packing sucks.


Signs of life:


A grey blur flashing past my head resolves itself into a falcon on the cottonwood up the road. It turns back towards me and - I swear it - chirps. For a moment I think it is talking to me, but then another swoops past me to join it. They chatter at each other, hopping along the branches like parakeets, then take off over the roofs.


The oaks are budding. The oaks are budding!


At the end of my walk, I pause to read one of the poetry signs that have been put up around the park, and to lick the rain off some Ceanothus flowers. A woman passes me, smiling under her wide-brimmed hat. Doesn't it smell delicious today? I nod. She spreads her arms out like wings. The whole desert just opening up. She meets my eyes and we are madly in love, transfering just for a moment our mad love for this place to each other. She does a little twirling dance and continues on her way; I kiss the Ceanothus in delight.


On the way home, I find I am hungry for the first time in days.


The scent of rain through an open window, and I am calmed. There is a tree blooming in my backyard, and there is chocolate, and dried roses, and a piece of quartz that nestles in my pocket: things are okay. No matter that there is also a paper due, a friendship foundering, human rights eroding, depression lurking, a world collapsing all around. A tree blooms in my backyard, the kettle whistles, and there is rain. Things are okay. Things are okay. They are.


and all the hurts

i thought i had let pass through me

were little acorns

that my heart was hiding.

and they all

turned into trees.

and all were struck by lightning.


As is, I suppose, appropriate for National Poetry Month, I've been haunted by poems especially much these past few weeks. Reading and writing both. I've been particularly drawn to the LifeLines feature at the Academy of American Poets - people write in those lines of poetry that come to them unbidden, which stay with them throughout, those poems that speak deeper than we understand.

Mine would be Prufrock, who taught me what poetry could be, and these two lines that ring each time I am heartbroken. In the absence of the sea itself to be soothed beside, these lines alone can suffice:

I should have been a pair of ragged claws

Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.

Tell me yours.


Women's magazines usually make me want to throw up and die, but this article from Glamour makes me want to throw up and write my representative. And hit something. And buy condoms while I still can. Go read it.

[via Bitch Ph.D.]


watch the samurai:

hordes gather on the horizon

and she waits,

sharpening her sword.

demons gather. the horizon

is black with them.

i have been watching their shadows

for months.

but they are far off still,

and the moon not yet risen.

i sharpen my sword. fear

against fear, learning which

is harder by which

breaks first. silence

invites them closer.

i will invite them closer.

i will drop my armor:

comfort born of habit,

passion born of need.

the slick of sharp edges

metronomes my heart:

fear of alone

against fear of death;

fear of flesh against

fear of vacuum.

i crouch in the darkness,

swaying. they will come.


After a long day of hitting rocks with big hammers in the sun, it turns out that a hot shower and a cold beer equal precisely everything I desire in the world. Both at the same time? Unmitigated bliss. Sitting on the porch afterwards, with a nice breeze and clean clothes that don't have any glochids in them, with the rest of the beer and a dinner date with two lovely ladies pending? With great music in the background? And half an avocado to eat? And muscles already starting to feel sore? And the rest of my life before me? Well, let's just suffice it to say that things are good.


Eris came in through the side door as Eros slipped out the front. He placed a finger to his lips as he left - a hush or a promise, I couldn't say. I was still staring out the window, lost in longing, as she slipped her arms around my waist. Chin on my shoulder, she pressed her breasts to my back and whispered secrets in a language I've long forgotten. I closed my eyes to feel her breath on my skin, and the wind blew my map off the wall. You miss him already, don't you? Eris asked, and I nodded. Her laughter tumbled like rocks in a stream, like yesterday's promises lost. Her nails suddenly sharp against my ribs. There is no way out but through me, and there is no end to me. She smiled, soft and cruel. I am all the world.

My skin suddenly cold, and she was gone. A thud from behind me: I expected to see an apple, but it was a pomegranate rolled off the table instead. I stain my fingers as winter comes. She is all the world, and Eros on the other side. Still, I leave the door unlocked; perhaps he will come home.


I stand on my hands, heels hovering against the living room wall. Gravity comes home; my body comes home. They dance. I waver, elbows aching, arms quivering. Keys fall out of my pocket with a clatter, then three quarters one at a time. I remember to breathe. I fall.

Again. And again. Eventually my heels do not touch the wall, but the next time I slam against it. My palms are warm and my fingers twitching. The teapot sings. I fall. Outside, sparrows are building a nest in the eaves, and somewhere a nuthatch traces spirals down the trunk of an oak. On a hike someday I will trace my fingers along the holes he leaves and nod to myself. My heels hit the wall. I fall.


I almost smashed the frog when I fell. I'd been telling Chris about when I was at summer camp as a kid and we'd go on this hike up a big hill to the water tower, and there were always all kinds of frogs around where it leaked, and I would always get left behind because I was trying to catch the frogs and my group would hike on. I told the story because I'd been trying to catch a lizard, who evaded me more than once by running straight at me, across my hands, and to the next rock. I nearly fell off the edge of the waterfall trying to chase one around a juniper, and that one got away as well. Eventually I gave up and ate some more dried bananas. A boulder had apparently been calling to Chris, so he got up to go walk on it as it required.

"Hey, speaking of frogs!"

So of course I lept up to catch the frog, tried to run up the boulder, and fell. The frog jumped out from under my hand just before I hit the granite. Apparently the whole thing was quite poetic.

We sat around in the sun like poikilotherms for a while longer, and eventually I did catch a little treefrog, whose tiny heart beat coolly against my fingers as she sat cupped in my hands. When I set her back in the stream, we saw the yellow stripes under her legs when she swam away.

He wrote about it better.


My improbable doppelgänger is coming to visit me today! Horray!


When I was little I used to stay at my grandparents' house over winter break. The days were some of the longest of my life. My grandmother would make me grilled cheese sandwiches and try to teach me how to cross-stitch. I taught myself origami one year. I read a lot, and spent a lot of time in her garden - my grandmother's garden is one of the best fantasy-world backdrops my childhood ever held, all full of hiding places and plants with bright colors and strange fruits, and the big barking dog next door to add just the right hint of danger. When I spent the night, in the morning we'd have grapefruit and toast, and black tea with milk. At home I always ate cereal, and the ceremony of dissecting the grapefruit with the special toothed little spoon seemed so exotic; I loved it even though I thought the grapefruit itself was far too bitter. In the afternoons we would watch my grandma's soaps, which I fervently hope didn't shape my romantic ideals too much.

In the afternoons also, if I was very lucky and if I ate all my sandwich (and pickle!), my grandpa would make his Special. I think I'm the only grandchild to ever get a Special, though I know he made them for my mom when she was a kid. The Special is brilliant in its simplicity: vanilla ice cream with Ovaltine powder on top, which I would then carefully mash into a big malty goop. So much better than vanilla or even chocolate ice cream alone, with a touch of gritty sugar and Papa's magic mixed in. I remember the year after he died, wanting so badly my favorite dessert and knowing somehow that I couldn't ask my grandma to make it for me. It was Papa's Special. She probably wouldn't know how to make it right anyway.

It is now my surest comfort food, just ahead of grilled cheese sandwiches, oatmeal, and lasagna. Paired with a cup of tea it's almost enough to calm my most jagged fears. Of which I am finding I have plenty.


Ouroboros: last Easter, we went hiking in the old burn off 89, and today I went there again for the first time since. Last year, after following the creek for a while (Was it running? I can't remember. Why can't I remember that?) we sat in silence on rocks with our backs to the eroding bank. I can still taste the dirt-colored sun and the ash. Some white thing blooming. There was a drumming, a heavy sound that made our animal hearts pound before a sudden herd of deer leapt past us, not even a pause or swerve, thundering across the creek and over the opposite hill and gone. Our silence was stunned then, and then nervous - from what were they running? Later he would tell me that he'd been eyeing the rocks nearby for likely weapons, as his proclivity is towards fight.

Mine is flight. And so every time he stood to face me, I melted into the landscape, turning to a cryptic collection of sounds and feathers and leaving him bewildered and alone.

Today a hike with a good friend, up a road with so many dead-end forks I began to wonder if I wasn't dreaming. A dirt road, rutted and strewn with downed wood; I had been drinking all day, trying to swallow myself, and I stumbled more than once. Dead grass between root-sprouted oaks, skunkbush bristling with determined buds. At the top of the hill is a great outcrop of white quartz looking out across the forest. The edge of the fire showed clear as any line between past and present, and the wind blew tiny shards against my bare legs, blew my ears to deafness and my eyes to tears. I put a sharp piece of quartz in my mouth, leaving in trade the stone I've kept in my pocket for years, dull and grey against the sparking hill.

Yes, the water was clear and winter-cold, with algae growing in the eddies. I remember now.


Perhaps I was ten. Maybe only nine, or twelve – it was the end of elementary school, or perhaps the first year of junior high. I remember only the slant of afternoon light over the neighbors’ rooftops, the heft of a bookbag nearly bereft of actual books. I think I was reading Anne of Green Gables: junior high, then. We were walking home from school, Lauren, Celeste and I. It was on the sidewalk.

You must understand that this town is one where the butterfly is almost sacred; it sometimes seems to be our primary justification for existence, one celebrated stop on a thousand-mile journey the monarch makes each year. In kindergarten we all wore painted cardboard wings, orange with black veins, and paraded around town with the high school marching band in the lead.

When we found it, one wing had been torn ragged along the edges, and the other was merely a frayed stub. It fluttered in obsessive, desperate circles, finally climbing onto my outstretched hand.

I remember the faint prickled perception of its legs on my palm, as though even my nerve endings were too clumsy to hold this fragile thing. We walked quickly the rest of the way to Lauren’s house, shielding the butterfly from the wind like a flame.

But once there, we were lost. It was clearly suffering, inasmuch as a butterfly can suffer; we felt it our duty to end this suffering. We dug a hole, scraping into the dirt of Lauren’s backyard with our fingernails and found sticks, releasing a thick earth-scent that comforted us. It comforted me, at least, as I carefully, carefully set the mangled butterfly into the grave we had created. We stood awkwardly, afraid. Eventually it became clear that no one else would do the task: closing my eyes, I dropped a rock into the hole. We couldn’t bear to lift it and see if it had worked. I wrote a poem in eulogy that I have since misplaced; we fashioned a cross out of twigs, though none of us were religious.

This is not the story, however. What I want to say came later, that same day, when a fly landed on the wall beside me. It circled my head first, as flies will do, then sat, preening itself contentedly as a cat, until I smashed it with the magazine I had been reading.

This is it, here: that fly was not a moment dead when I thought of the butterfly, the agony of that heavy rock in my hands, the dread. And today, a dozen years later, I find a cockroach in my sink and wash it down the drain, wincing as I flip the garbage disposal on.

Zen tells me the same as Hamlet: there is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so. The life of the butterfly is not one ounce more valuable than that of the cockroach, or the fly, or my own. But I will kill the cockroach and praise the monarch. There are ants in my house, and at first I let them be. Then of course there were more, until a procession marched unendingly across the kitchen floor, solid as a charcoal line. And yet, do they do my any harm?

Once I saw a video of a pod of orcas feasting on baby seals off the coast of some frozen, rocky land. Two of them, perhaps a mother and child, had taken a seal pup away from the shore and into deep water, and there, as David Attenborough calmly narrated, they “played with it.” With a surprising skill, they tossed the tiny body into the air, caught it on their tails, flung it again, whipping and writhing, until out spilled the viscera and the thing finally died. Is this cruelty? Do the orcas know the suffering of the pup, or of its mother? When I finally vacuum the line of ants – wholesale slaughter, the nozzle of the vacuum hose pressed to the crack in the wall – do I think of the ants then, trapped, groping blind circles in my vacuum bag amid dust and feathers and long strands of my own hair? I draw a line of chalk around the hole they crawled out of; I have heard this will deter them. How do I decide what deserves to live, what I can dismiss without thought as not truly alive? The ants are mere drones, are they not? And the cockroach, with a millennia of successful genetic coding? The seal pup, squealing? Would I instead kill the orca to save it? Or better to be as the Jains, and walk muffled, sweeping the path in front of me for fear of stepping on mites? How many lives pass each day through my lips, beneath my heels, wash down my drain?

So what then of the yellow wash of sun across our makeshift garden grave, the shadow cast by our cross of twigs? Can I raise a cross for everything that loses its life to me? What shall I do instead?


Also: I did my first successful handstand today, and last night I was elected prom queen. Neither being things I ever expected to say.


I wonder what it must have been like for the explorers, who came upon it unawares. I imagine them slogging through the heat, watching their feet for rattlers, then looking up, sudden. Rumor has it the Spaniards walked away unimpressed and estimated the river below at some eight feet. Perhaps they were unimpressed; if they lost no horses to the big hole, why should it be worth noting? Nonetheless, this is what it was for me:

Mather Point is crawling with tourists. There is something about the horizon that tells me the end is nigh. I try not to look before I am at the edge, and then I look. My heart stops. I forget my name. I want to throw up: my eyes tumble down and heave back up, down and up, impossibly deep and far. I almost throw up. I almost close my eyes and step into the deep.

And then I want to know which species of juniper is in front of me.

I decide to eat lunch and then pick a trail. The info at the visitors' center suggests that South Kaibab, and after I finish my greasy veggie burger I grab the shuttle to the trailhead. I am immediately and repeatedly glad for my crampons, as the trail is icy and as steep as it looks. The ice turns soon to mush, then mud as I descend. I stop at Cedar Ridge, which is covered in junipers, and watch kids feed peanuts to the squirrels. I walk a ways farther, but clouds are coming in fast and the sun starting to dip.

On the way back, a herd of teenaged boys passes me, and I turn off my competitive urges with an almost audible click. I am here for myself. I stop at the insipidly-named Ooh Aah Point and dangle my feet of the edge of a boulder. There comes a sound that I hear in my chest more than my ears: I look, and a raven has landed but three feet from me, and sits peering. I bow my head, and he bobs back at me before taking off in a rush of wind and wings.



"Not six inches, not a foot and a half. A foot apart. Like this." And she shows us, a well-practiced arm reaching into the bucket, flinging a seed potato into the furrow, and back in the bucket like the motions were one. We fumble along afterwards, tossing our potatoes haphazardly at best, most of them falling closer to six inches or eighteen than twelve. But ten people can do in an hour what would take all day for two, and I don't think she will complain. Later we pull rocks from the field, tossing them into piles to be added to the big pile on the south end. I think of Andean terraces, a thousand years of rock pulling, generation upon generation, until the impossible slopes yield food.


The truck in front of me is turning. I have just finished taking a swig out of my water bottle and put my hands back on the wheel when a car pulls out of the intersection, the driver looking the other way and apparently oblivious to my little Volvo behind the big truck. I swerve madly, my life perhaps indebted to the break in oncoming traffic, and don't remember to honk until I am far past. At home, I write to him that I love the way I do - hard, and all at once - because I have no faith in permanance, no reason to believe either of us we be here to love later. The taste of death is still in my lungs.


The taste of death is still in my lungs. And I'm going dancing.


A warm evening, after a string of soft, warm days. It is as though spring has made up her fickle mind. The moon is huge on the horizon, the earth swinging down to catch the light. Last month, the full moon fell on a blanket of new snow, and I wished for a hand to hold on a nighttime hike as bright as day. Already winter feels like a childhood story faintly recalled, a bite to the wind that brings back memories of I don't know what. Of course, this winter was hardly a winter at all, just a collection of cold nights and a scattering of storm. The oaks are not less brown, and today I drove past an empty field that last April was awash in flowers. The whole state was awash in flowers last spring; this year is barren.

I remember thinking again and again last year that it was a pity there were so few people living so that the bounty of the land could give them joy: what celebrations a year like that would have garnered in a land of gatherers! The saguaros were dripping with fruit, the pinyons bursting with nut, cottontails starting behind every bush. A pity there was no one to rejoice in the generosity of Big Mama.

But this year I am glad of it, for how many babies, concieved in celebration, would die of drought and famine now? And what does it say of us that our lives go on, untouched?


Words are slow for me, sticky like honeycomb and sore as muscles. Usually, inspiration breeds inspiration in my mind: the more I write, the more I have to write about. But not tonight. Tonight they are a gift I have already given away, to poems that aren't meant for idle eyes, to murmured, helpless sounds of consolation. I've used them the best I know how, and they are tired. I'm tired, too.


All my corners ache: shoulderblade, collarbone, hip, elbow, knee. They hurt from hitting the ground.

All my muscles ache: bicep, tricep, calf, thigh, abs. They hurt from trying to mitigate or at least control the hitting of the ground.

The heels of my palms and the balls of my feet are bruised from slap-landings and botched attempts at more complex maneuvers. At the end of the class, I was tapped twice for the roda and made a right fool of myself therein. In fact, the truth of it is that I made a fool of myself the whole way through. I can't even do a cartwheel, much less the twisting leaping acrobatics required for most of the movements, and I have not the requisite fearlessness to do them anyway. Today I paid the price: if I had moved with confidence instead of gingerly, I would likely have hit the ground less often.

I find in myself lately an aversion to the attempt of those things that do not come easily to me. Most of what I spend my time at these days I have been doing and doing well for so long that I do not remember the experience of their learning. For all I know, I have been writing and reading all my life, and swimming, and walking in the woods. Even now so often new skills come naturally - bike repair, knitting, taxonomy - that when I am faced with making a fool of myself, I rarely press on. This happens most often in the physical: I could talk before I could walk, and it shows. I have never been very athletic, or very sure in my body. I can hike for a long time in a heavy pack, I can ride a bike, and I can swim: that is the sum total of my athletic ability. Lately, I have tried to branch out, but rockclimbing, ultimate frisbee, and even running were abandoned after a few frustrating attempts.

I don't like to feel foolish. I don't wear it well, and I would generally rather retreat to the safety of words and trails than risk my dignity. I think I also suspect that if something isn't easy right away, I'll never master it. So why bother?

This isn't an attitude I particularly enjoy in myself, and I wonder if I will go back next week. I would like to, and I also would rather not. The aching body is not what deters me, though I would like to tell myself it is so.


April, then.

Is this spring?

It must be -

the willows are budding,

and the itch in my feet

starting up again.


life beats itself

into being. Birds riot

outside my window,

and manzanitas

hang their bells

in the wind.


it snowed yesterday.

(Or was that

the day before?)

Time knows nothing

of our dates

and measures.

The cherry trees,


lost half

their fruit to come.

Some things

are taken from us

before we even know

of them;

Death walks here,

too. Nothing grows

but through the eyesockets

of the past. And everything

is growing.

(It's National Poetry Month, after all.)


The land is a language I have only just remembered how to read, the furl and bough of green things a vocabulary sure as prophesy or French. This is, perhaps, why I love them so: the syntax of chaparral and mountianside is not so different than the grammar of plain words.

Like any language, I gain fluency only in practice. When I have been away from the woods for too long, my understanding falters and my translations stumble. Which juniper is this, and how can I tell?

There was a once Costa Rica when the subjuntivo clicked and I spoke in confident, fluid uncertainty all day. Once I could tell my willows from fifty paces, in winter. Both these knowledges are now gone from me, but could with practice be returned.

All language students know that immersion is the best way to learn. It has been argued that we see in color so that we can differentiate between ripe fruit and sour; certainly our ancestors knew every plant and how it grew, if only to keep their bellies full. I'm looking forward this summer to time for long study of a dialect I used to know, that I may speak more clearly of my home.


I wake to the sound of rain; for a moment, I think my ceiling must be leaking again, but this is a much better sound. The sky is dark and soon the rain turns to snow, then back again. I burrow into my bed, pulling the blankets close around me, and wiggle in sleepy happiness until the alarm interrupts my reverie. But no matter: I am still sleepy, and happy, and it is still raining. I can't really ask for more.


I tend to speak distance in time. Ask me how far from my house to anyplace, and I will tell you: Phoenix in two hours. Home in twelve. Ten minute walk to school, a full day's travel to La Paz. I know nothing in miles.

The metaphor holds: ask me how close I am to my best friend, and I will tell you I have known her for fifteen years.

Time is a construction. One of my favorite things about this school that if you ask someone the time, they are as likely to look up to the sky as down at their wrist. Once I learned to mark it by the stars, and time turned a slow pirouette around a still center. Once I sat for three days beneath a tree without eating. After the first day the hunger plateaued, and time was measured in pages, liters, and the pulsing drone of flies.

Arizona doesn't bother with daylight savings; I think we're the only state in the country. The Navajo reservation does, but Hopi also doesn't. Concentric circles of time: during the drive to Utah an hour appears and disappears five times. Bars and gas stations open and close an hour earlier on one side of the road. Daturas open and close in pale unison straight through.

Time is an illusion, and like so many things, relative at best. How far am I from love? It takes sixteen hours to drive to the redwoods, ten seconds to call my parents. A week of hiking to remember my own skin. This morning I watched the sun rise over juniper hills. I find that I haven't missed the hour; I can't imagine where it would go.


It isn't even so much about the food itself - last night we had chili and potatoes - but the process. The time spent deliberating over cookbooks, especially fancy ones with lots of pictures. The grocery store stroll, the pre-cooking soji, cleaning the temple so that our offerings can be seen. The anticipation. And letting the process be a process, rather than just a means to an end.

We are interested in quality: whole potatoes, big chunks of cheese, fresh herbs and spinach. Dry beans crock-potted all day and then fire-roasted tomatoes, a few dashes of bittersweet chocolate, chipotle, and an unreasonable amount of garlic. Conversation floats by: Greek literature, Buddhism, school. Taste and taste again, adding salt, some marjoram, more garlic. Time it all so that when the poatoes are done with their second baking dessert can slip right in. Then we sit on the floor with wine and music, and close our eyes in delight. Simple food, good company. The eating itself is almost ancillary.

And then: a benefit of making strawberry shortcake with shortcake from scratch and whipped cream from cream is that the next morning one can have shortcake and jam for breakfast, and whipped cream in one's coffee. And it will be delicious. And one will feel no guilt whatsoever, because the shortcake is whole-wheat and the cream is organic. And it will be delicious.


I cross my heart, or it crosses me. Who can tell? Physics can't prove that my feet aren't still over moving ground, a treadmill that is the earth. I cross my heart like fording a river, and we all know how rivers flow: I am never the same woman twice.

Last night I was washing the dishes, humming away in a wallowing sense of comfy quiet, when loneliness ambushed me from the side. It took me a moment to really notice: my mind leapt to the defense without missing a step, producing a hundred distractions to keep me occupied. But soon all the dishes were clean, all the websites checked, and I sat back down on the couch and let myself ring hollow. I want the reassurance of company, of your voice.

I also want solitude, which is what I've got. Empty space creates room for opportunity; empty space creates room for growth.

Emotions move like clouds, casting shadows as they go.

My brother calls me a heartbreaker: I am afraid that he is right. I have struggled and struggled to be responsible in my loving, to be honest, to be fair. I have tried to only make the promises I thought I could keep, and to keep the promises I have made.

But the ground shifts beneath me sometimes. It is no excuse, I know, but it is true. Sometimes I look up and my horizon has moved. What is the honesty of staying where I cannot stay? There is nothing fair about obligation, and resentment is no place to build a life.

But guilt raps bony knuckles on my breastbone - once he called just to hear my voice on the answering machine. How could I say I'd changed my mind? How many chances do you get if they are squandered?

Besides. You could travel the world for all your life, and never really know a place. One day you just say: Here. And set your roots. Right?

My heart crosses me. I wake one morning to find my roots are shorn, my branches bare. I topple in the slightest wind. I dream the same dream for forty nights in a row and wake with alfalfa in my hair. I sit beneath a juniper until the berries turn to stone. I burn myself to the ground.

Empty space creates room; the river changes even as you are dipping your hands to drink. I look up from the bank and I am made of granite rock and creosote, my horizon a rising sun. I look up and I am made of granite rock and gull cry, my horizon a gathering wave. I look up and I am made of flesh and sand, salt and eroding bone. Black feathers. White sky. I do not know how to say no to love. I do not know how to temper desire; mine has never been the middle path.

I spun the globe and my finger landed seven times on the sea. The oracle tells me the question is not mine to ask; her snake watches me languidly until I leave. A cherry blossom tumbles to the ground with the bee still inside. The best I can do is hold to honesty; I cross my heart, and wake dripping on the other side.