When he spoke to you that way
The way that made your eyelashes curl inward
Pinching in like the rigid splayed legs of a crushed lady bug
He plucked a bright seed from within you
And pinched it tightly between his thumb and forefinger.
It was absent minded, but his grasp became heavier
The more you clawed his face and hands
Scrambling to take it back.
He did not give it back, but you took it from him
Just the same.
There was a divot where the seed once was
And you planted it back there
But it was smaller from the pinching
And the extra space was not dark or light
But was nothing at all
Just a tight band that continued to squeeze
And suffocate the seed.
He was indignant with the long scratches you gave him
Raking his vacant expression from the roots of his hair
To the dimple in his neck
And all up his forearms, disappearing beneath his sleeves.
He preened and fussed over his wounds
Visible as they were in the reflection of your half lidded eyes
While your seed continued to squeeze
The empty space around it unable to expand but desperate to grow
By crushing the speck of substance in its middle.
And so you bled.
The blood emanated from your center, swirling into the spot of nothing
Filling it, overflowing it
Baptizing you with a dark, red
Vortex of unconditional acceptance.
He, no longer seeing his reflection in you,
Saw only the thick rivulets of ichor dripping from your fingertips
From your eyes
From your open mouth
Wordlessly pouring forth a choir of pain and new beginning.
Puzzled, he rubbed a mosquito bite just above his elbow
Picked at the scratches on his face
Squinted across the expanding lake of your bloody essence
Which was floating him out to sea on a tight little iceberg.
For a moment he thought the moon was drawing the liquid up into a tide
Although what he saw was the curve of the earth.
The center of the lake bubbled with the beat of your heart
Gently beckoning to pulses of growing ivy
Which in turn pulled roses, tomatoes, tulips, carrots, oak trees, pumpkins,
Cabbage, redwoods, potatoes, wheat, thistles, grass
Out of the emerging whirlpool of dark, black soil tinged as it was with deep red.
The lake exploded up into the air as the trees grasped toward the sunlight
And down into the earth as thousands of roots plummeted to find purchase.
Branches sucked the ground hungrily from afar, drawing up every last drop
Finally coming to a reluctant, shivering rest, rustled by the breeze
A vibrant landscape, a winking lantern of verdant growth,
Bound to your bellybutton along unseen bloodlines of past realization.
Within this garden, you sit
Tending your bushes
And reaping your harvest.
He created the void, and a tiny speck of pain
But can no more claim this garden than the cruel, genesis of the universe
Mindlessly detonating outward in a withering bang
Can be credited with a delicate aria
Or a mother’s enigmatic lullaby.
For Shana, on her birthday
Originally written 6/30/2010