I dreamt of three ladies and I among them. The children were there and laughter caught the air as they frolicked about. Then out the door and down the hall and into the field we went, all they while I caught not your eye. You know me and I you as lovers, and yet you give nothing to anyone as you laugh and chat and smile.
Now I am diving into a cold river as the kids shout with exclamation at the sight. I throw them and tug them, cajole and wrestle them in gleeful play. The water is cold and brown, but no one cares.
You lie propped on the grass, blanket spread beneath your blue-jean legs, those dark sunglasses and a simple white cotton button up blouse making you look like Audrey Hepburn. You are cool with your chatting laughter and yet you are always watching me with that quick, side eye glance. I feel the tension of your wants colliding with mine.
We traverse the high bank, the kids and I, time and again. We run and leap, far out, into the cold river’s depths. I remain underwater for long lengths, wanting to breath as a fish does; letting myself rise under my own slow buoyancy until I bubble to the surface at last with a gasp, and wipe the brown cold from my eyes to fix upon your glance.
It must be wrecking you because you shift and throw your legs behind, leaning forward a bit and placing a hand in front of your lap for balance. I want to peer until you shift again, but no, I am tackled from behind by one child’s excited mugging. He’s swum up from underneath and he climbs me at once like a tree. I allow him this fun and my torso sinks as he strides up my back and onto my shoulders.
Under the cold water I close my eyes and see you on the bank, warming your hair in the sun and drinking wine.
I could stay in this cold moment, under this brown river, holding a giggling child’s hands forever. My soul could climb the bank and throw itself wet and wild upon the corner of your blanket and ask for a sip of your wine.
In fact, my soul does this very thing. Just for a moment we are lovers, our eyes lock and share the rare knowledge of perfect, lovely hope with all its unbridled joy of being. Just for a moment we are magnificent.
And then the child’s balance fails and my lungs burn and I kick hard and burst from the unconscious tomb beneath this brown cold, and suck in the bright, noisy world above once more. Shaking my head I clear the water from my eyes and growl low and the children howl with neat squeals and splash furiously in retreat.
There are times in a life, small slices of time, milliseconds of a moment really, when it all wells up and concentrates, as it must have done in the seconds prior to Vesuvius or the instant of Hiroshima. The force of millenniums focuses into an instrument of such vast destructive power as would alter time itself. And then..a pause.
A slight bend in the fabric of time, a slight alteration occurs, in the imminence of this moment.
Here hangs in balance all of life annihilated and all of life created.
Where whales reach the apex of breach, vast sprays of ocean turning back on themselves and seeking again their creator. Seventy tons floats between escape and retraction in this instant.
I saw the Phoenix rising in that moment, upward from ashes powdered by the searing heat of those nights and weeks when love burned and raged in yellow flame. But hurt wearing a hat of soft felt had struck the match with a hardness unmatched in its certain uncertainty.
All of the slight bends in that fabric of time remain along the corridor, used
but not forgotten in their black intensity.