whisking warm rain
on a gold and green meadow
interrupted by bursts of vermillion.
a brown body, long haired, naked
glimpsed from the waterfall
that is the glass window.
it is neither warm nor dark
inside. the sunlight is
still sleek, gentle
through the cracks
of the wooden house.
there is the cadence of crickets
harmonizing with the pitter-patter,
and just awoken is a fuzzy child
with thin hair, and light.
watching, the child senses
there is something about that body
that is serene, and inviting.
there is only one thing to do.
the child removes first her
and next her white leather shoes.
these she leaves on the bed.
the stockings she decides to keep.
her left knee is still caked with blood
and unless the scab is soaked through,
to peel the sheers off would be
to invite hurting and messiness.
the door gives easily, and the rain
though furious sounding, is just a mist,
is like the feeling of a face
close to a just-popped can of soda.
outside smells of earth and water
and leaves, and nothing else.
the body is already across the field
and stepping onto another,
and the child, with purpose,
follows, but delicate.
the mud yields beneath her feet
and cakes around her stockings.
the grass is itchy spikes
that catch on the silk.
as she walks she takes off
her skirt. her shirt.
discarding these things of her life
that do not belong and never did.
and when her stockings are gleaming,
they come off, too, and sink
in the field, a snake skin
returning to earth.
the knee bleeds a little,
but the blood is washed away,
mixing with the mud
and the flakes of leaves
stuck to her legs.
the figure does not stop walking,
and the child does not stop following.
at the end of the field is a row
of trees. the figure passes through these
the child follows and sees
that behind the row of trees
and there is a little creek.
it is rapid, and overflowing,
turning quickly into a full-fledged river.
and there the figure is standing,
water swirling around its shins.
the child puts feet first in the water
and then walks in until the
ground gives way
and she is sinking,
and the water is to her waist,
and then suddenly, her chest.
she doesn’t float or swim.
she is nothing but a mass
following the laws of physics.
a weight, succumbing to gravity.
she is under the rapids,
tumbling and cartwheeling
in the muddy blitz.
there is no up or down,
no “air” or “land”, or “water”
just chaos, and what ensues.
and soon, the child is carried off
down the creek, the river,
to the mouth,
to the place where
fresh water and sea water
first the sea takes her in
like it takes in all the logs
and bottles and ships,
and turns them into driftwood
and beach sand and silt.
but her body is buoyant in the salt.
and she rises, up, above, onto a wave
and ebbs and flows like the tide,
teasing. death or salvation,
water or air. a giant wave.
a pounding, crashing muscle of the
she is carried aloft, impossibly high,
and there is only the blue sky
and the foam, and nothing else.
then a pull, and a rush,
and an incredible gushing,
of water or blood,
and the feel of one’s heart
like an iron anchor.
slam, back onto the shore.
after all, it is only a child,
and promises have not yet been kept.
she sleeps for a long time,
soaked through and through.
though the sea laps at her limbs,
it has made up its mind
and does not intend again to swallow her.
the sinking sun is a rose to her
and the child awakens as if it were morn.
what is there to do but get up, cry,
and afterwards, wander around,
away from the sea,
until she is found.