Come darling, sit by my side and weep. I have no lyre, no melodious voice or chant. I meditate on the Zion I could never grant you. My son, my roe deer, my rock-rent stream. My honeysuckle, my salt, my golden spear. Forgive me your birth in this strange land. I wanted your infant kisses, your fists clasped round my neck. I craved you, though you were born in the wake of my illness, my dim prognosis. I was selfish: I willed you this woe, this world. You inherited exile for my sake.
A stack of brownies as big as bricks for my children. A small paper bowl of red and orange salmonberries. An antler from a spike buck, perhaps three years old, Perhaps a black-tailed deer, perhaps now gargantuan. Cranberry syrup made up the coast about eight miles. Handshakes of all sorts. A photograph; their one son, Just deceased; we just thought that you should have it. Blackberry jam, homemade. Honey, homemade. Salal Sprigs, elderberry sprigs. Canned smoked salmon and Tuna, caught about two miles to the west of where we Stood in the library. A baby girl hoisted up so she and I could look each other in the eye. She sneezed. Books To scrawl upon. Huckleberry leaves. A cougar’s tooth, Gleaming. A man gripped me by the shoulder and said Nothing. His was a remarkably expressive grip. People Give you things without any things in their hands. You Know what I mean. They are eloquent without needing To speak. We hardly ever talk about this. I shuffled off With my arms full. I had been slathered by the glorious And only a little of it was in the basket I tucked into my Car. People were hungry for something. I knew what it Was and it wasn’t me; but I could tell stories that could Point to what it is we are all starving for. We work and Yearn and struggle and dream for it. Occasionally when We gather together, if there is humility, if there is story, If there is honesty, then there is just enough food for all.
Born of damp and demise, little prodigies haunt the shadows, like conversations we live to forget. Wild mushrooms lift their spongy overnight ears, and muscle aside the fallen eye-shine of chestnuts. Among us, the old argument crops up, and both parties hunker down in the woods. This is where we get the verb mushroom: we, who launch our ripostes, seeding the air beyond what it can hold. What if we can’t find the truth? The man losing his faith in speech utters blurred shapes, like those caps and stems, ghostly with foxfire, savvy and sprouting, in hopes they illumine the woodland floor.