It’s June, and I am tired of writing the same pentameter – my father’s dark hands and poor heart. The air curls with stillness, ascending from my lips – like he had so many times, before his heart gave out. Name a prettier way to plead guilty. Everything that reminds me of him cannot be my mother’s fault, and in the bereaved room, a semicircle of faces crowing, as though the first sunlight reaching down from the window shade had not in itself come with rage. From the tops of a few high brush, the voice of a blue jay calls, untouched, and for a moment, the past sits still inside another song, made of flesh and bone. At last, after a night of weeping, and striding between the two long benches at the corridor, heartbreak is simply as teleological as any other thrust. As a matter of fact, what prospect did my mother have then, if not the wind spilling with blossoms inside her? Five and a half years together, and my prodigal father says: I don’t love you anymore. There’s a dark cloud so heavy we get lost in it, which means my father was born and reborn from a single mistake, only to be hemmed back driven by pleasure. How much unsated mistake is too much? My father’s hair purpled by goose eggs thrown in from a river he’d tried to cross over. It is important for me to say, I wasn’t born yet how I know – memory functions like any other forms of semiology. Always, I see in my mother a kind of beforetime. That’s the other thing about conditioning. I taste the salt where affection rusts and every other human face is me; sesame, pumpkin and sunflowers. Isn’t that what it means to love too much – the heart, a reliquary full and rising. I think of her almost every time I fall in love – how the rush of a name parades grief with tenacious hunger. In profile, my father is lying on the edge of the box spring bed, beneath a rich velvet quilt, and it is midnight, my mother’s arm around him, ready to root. Genetically, they were naked, talking together and nothing grew between them.
Nomenclature: In All My Beginnings, Fatherhood Is Erased
15 May 2023
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