mountain lost in the palm

A CACOPHONY OF SKIN LINES, VEINS, WORDS, & SILHOUETTES BY ARIELLA RUTH

mole skull

i switch bed sides and twisted sleeping angles to bring back dreams of visitations as a necessary approach to threshold. the dream of an old friend, now gone, standing and staring confused outside my neighbor’s window was a good entrance point. the dream ended with the two of us crossing over the threshold and entering through the doorway of my home, but in my waking life i never actually entered, but rather subconsciously created many reasons, events, diversions to keep me from doing what i actually planned to do in the dream: make him a cup of coffee and sit with him at my kitchen table, under a worn wooden shelf that cradles a mole skull, and ask him every question i could imagine. the mole skull is in the kitchen because that’s where it belongs. a reminder that what’s delicate rests hidden underneath, in eyeshot of the front door, the only entrance to my apartment.

softened more by our shared laughter

for Uncle Ed

the way brothers are, these brothers, a single entity of strength and unending support.

i will call you on the phone. i will be there next to you on the red couch with gold trim and we will reminisce about the good old days and the pain and difficulty will subside and disintegrate in air in a room filled by our shared history. we will miss the others who have gone before us. we will reach for them. we will continue to talk about them as a way to bring them back until we can meet halfway in a place where light never burns out.

here we are, together again surrounded by a holiday feast and the muted sounds of the city beyond the windows, softened more by our shared laughter.

sugar orange

brown sugar is imbedded in fire orange leaves, wet and stuck to the slanted concrete on powder house lane. hours have been dark for days and slowly counting down. as each moment gets closer the leaves blend together and turn to mush underneath fast moving feet, the ones that are young and excited, and those who revisit this hidden street again and again, stuck in their own New England childhood like a movie frame–they can’t stop recurring. all of these children, no matter the substance or stage of breathing, excitedly approach doors with many stairs, the blue and grey paint chipping and the porch light glimmering against their sequence and color. crystallized leaves fall to pillowcases and these feather dreams are quietly tucked away.

letterwriting

the focus has to be here: pillow strewn on the sidewalk, window reflection where knotted hair is eye level, speaking to an empty room or an empty road and asking a sincere question with sincere hope for the response to unfold in objects and weather throughout the day. in present moments one will not arrive on time, or arrive at all, or show up to the right place and feel whole or at ease or remember to converse with those you pass in the entrance way. lack of fear is drifting. drifting is wholesome. toxic tongues will continue to whisper and you’ll think about the glass egg you purchased a few days ago now sitting in a tampon case in your drawer, fourth from the top. originally thought of as a means for protection in vulnerable moments the shop owner said if you shine it up with olive oil it will become luminescent. maybe when placed on the sternum the responses will present themselves. there’s a letter from a friend in new york sitting on the antique desk for almost a year now, still expecting a quick reply.

stir restless

for boomer

sleeping on your face’s side, curled, wholesome, or in the middle of the hardwood floor, standing between the counter and the table, watching my movement in the kitchen near the sink, looking back, or arriving at the front door the same moment as the house key.

now our mornings are only heavy sleep. quiet, small moving limbs walk softly across uneven surfaces. cleanliness, unexcitement to arrive home.

in the first few days after, on the blue couch, where the center was still indented from your thin body, weak to lift, then the sound of you jumping on and off the bed in the other room, your paws quiet on carpet, then hardwood, then back to carpet. this wasn’t enough.

our hearts still sewn to your texture. your eyes would squint and your head would sway to feel home.

that morning a few weeks ago, around 5 a.m., when your eyes would always begin to stir restless, you walked on and in between ankles to reach the window beside the bed. you needed to look out at the light to see what you’d missed since moving.

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heart pulsing steadily in sidewalk matter

leaving

the train for

the first time

in this new purpose

 

heart pulsing

steadily

in sidewalk matter

 

i remember your left

arm as stretched out

longer

than yourself

extended up and flowing

east

wrist bent to show

the sparrows

home

 

only a few blocks

from the corner

(later)

(numb)

(vacant of nerves)

that tore you

 

heart pulsing

steadily

in sidewalk matter

selected notes after the healing ceremony

  • in the late evening, summer air that is colder in gusts–
  • feet disappear and arms detach
  • shell mouths clatter and chatter blissfully into the face
  • sound hits only one ear hard–the one that should be used to it–by now
  • sound circles round head and clatter sits still at the skull’s bottom, where the bump protrudes and reaches toward the earth
  • words are allowed to fade for the first time in this life’s breath
  • truth heard only in the gasps of my neighbors, i feared they were spasming silently on the floor and i was a statue against my will
  • eyes beneath lids still blinked in brightness and complete surprise
  • during everything my mind watered/wandered
  • awoke with bent toes
  • wings made only of transparency and veins
  • it was beautiful and reminded me nothing of the life i’ve lived so far
  • i saw a cat shaven to mimic a lion that moved like a fox
  • i thought–i’ve passed here many times and never noticed you

right of way

try to avoid weather and tainted air, approach a street corner, you move across a diagonal, on feet in shoes not wheels, and meet me, storefronts swap in memory, i see neon pink and feather boas, you a scarf and round shades and slowing down, my feet’s pace doesn’t know how to stop with the lights, or you

are you

the ghosts come out in the summer because that’s

when the sheets come off

 

are you still breathing?

excerpt from THE RIPPLES ARE TO BLAME

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