(Dedicated to K of JAK.)
There is no going back for me. Still there is the battle, but I am almost done and then I wake in the night, lost to myself and the feeling of where I am. The bed is like snow or a hot place; maybe I am inside a wooden box, with splinters in my skin and they are smiling, red, spelling endless pain. I claw my way upward into the air, gasping for breath. It must be my heart and the stress of living and dying. There is a woman beside me and I can hear her breathing. She is the beat of time for me, an open present that I am constantly unwrapping and spreading out over rooms, one after the other, the walls that enclose us, country after country, across the unknown world of my choosing.
I am no gift, no prize. My paper is made of tears and speaking low to myself in the next room is a ribbon wrapped around my throat, all of this in a second of realization, and slowly it comes to me: I am in Mexico: my old love.
I can hear the roosters, the hooves, and the single explosion somewhere in the distance. The breeze moves the curtain and the smell of this peculiar history clears my nostrils. Mexico and not some other place where the ground is singed black and the mothers are in shock and I am always late. Why am I always late?
Why is the radio always broken? What is the condition on the ground?
Tell me…what madness is this?
3:00 a.m. and I rise like a terminal patient in a hospital. There are steel pins in my leg. The holes drip blood. With a crutch, I stagger to my computer and write an email to a young woman who measures insanity like a horticulturist with a creeping plant in the closet. She opens the door and pulls on the vine and tears off ten broad leaves, pages for her poems. With precision, she lays them out on the floor and writes with a white pen and she is alone in the world, save her child, and I can hear her scratch the leaves with a trail of white ink and there is the sound of small moments, pressure on the wounds, the curling pet, all the sighs collected in a booth.
Ten leaves of poetry on the floor that she builds into the key that fits the lock and she will turn it, a page in a book, and there is a glow as she walks outside: a free mind in the moment. No one to force her against a wall; no prison cell and she will not huddle in the cold rain. Yet, everything for her is incomparable, incomprehensible, and found only in the deepest part of the sea. She is a diver and into the water she will jump.
The learning will pull her down and she will understand for the rest of us.
Oh to be released and I am glad it will come to me in Mexico. The knowing faces looking down into my eyes, finding my bones in the deepest part of the sea.