The Comforts of Gravity
I see the autumn leaves falling. I ponder chance as they release.
Watch as they glide, then gently come to rest. A shading life,
clung to a branch, in the final moments breaking free.
How I wish for them to safely reach the ground, as a gathered
quilt, that slumbers beneath the beard of winter, as silage on the skin
of earth, until giving rise to the seeds of spring.
I see the autumn leaves falling. How they would attack the
old Ford wagon, as I lay my head on the panel door where it meets
the glass. In barely a whisper would I sing “One Tin Soldier” over
The beautiful melody and the soothing tone were mine. I did not
want to share or bother. I am as the others, green of stem fold’s that
seek to hide the mélange of color. Those… for me I kept.
It seems older than a year, as the sun rests upon the distance. Turned
brittle and brown, the Autumn leaves watch me fall. The laughter as
they dance begins to fade. How they wish for me to safely reach
Through the open window, the hum of the freeway in the distance fills the cooling breeze. It rises and fades like quietening breath. Soon, I find myself entranced by the cadence, so I press my ear to its breast, and for the moment I am freed.
I reach past the trees with an illusory gaze. Beyond the parking lot. Across the forlorn tracks that cry out with each passing train. I bound the wall held in tangled vine, where the fattened lanes are draped upon the contours. There, I ride my thumb as a crumpled frozen burrito wrapper, or a bead of sweat clung to the side of a paper cup.
The ever-present passenger. A traveler unafraid. A voyeur removed of extremities. Might they hear me in the whine of tires or catch my pong as the hollows pass. Now I can see through their eyes, as the white acrylic lines begin to blur, and time chases after.
From the dashboard radio a wonted melody begins to seep. The notes, warming as they pass through me, leave a residue of blameless longing that squeezes the breath from my lungs. I try to pull back the tears as they crest in the corner, but still they breach, so I name them before they fall.
If only I were ageless, or the tarnish better worn, then the earthen scent of the garlic fields that announce my spring, would not wilt against the summer sun. Slowly the window is closing, as the tree pollen clings to the screen, and soot, I see it there, has gathered on the sill.
Then, the cell cast a quiver that woke my bones.
I lifted the lid. There was a blue washcloth floating in the bowl. The toilet was filthy, as usual. Before I held my nose. Before I would fish-out the cloth, I turned to look at the tub, half again filled with used bath water. I thought, How many times have I asked her. How many times. Where are the stickers that bordered the mirror? Where is the make-up, the scrunchies, and the perfume? Where are the clothes that adorned the floor? O’ unfair the vanity. Then I remembered… this is not her bathroom anymore.
There was a loud bang, so I followed the sound to her room. The closet door was resting against the dusty dresser, the one with the old television on it. There was a rustling in the closet, and I knew she was upset. I could hear her say, “I can’t open the door all the way!” Shaking my head, I smiled and slid the dresser just enough for the door to swing freely. Then, I laid on the sheetless bed and stared at the ceiling as she nestled against me, her head upon my chest. After a moment stilled, all her troubles she began to share. Then I remembered… this is not her bedroom anymore.
I opened her message. “Sorry Dad, I won’t make it home this week, but I hope to be there soon. Love you.”