Minus Forever

(may 2020-may 2021)

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Wait a while eternity
Old mother nature’s got nothing on me
Come to me, run to me, come to me, now
We’re rolling, my sweetheart
We’re flowing, by God
-John Prine

There is reclamation work to be done: we are not in Hell; we are in Purgatory
-Norman O Brown

Something about the wind in the grass takes you back there.
Back then everybody lived in cottages, the watermills brought in music,
and the weeds all knew their names. There were dragons but they were
preoccupied. You sat the dragon down and asked what’s wrong and you said
about how life’s short and the dragon nodded into the glass. Back then you
could climb up to the clouds and you could tell the people you saw god.
And you were on the train to the airport.
You were thinking how badly you wanted to feel something, anything,
with even half the intensity that came from gazing out over the autumn
fields from the window of your parents’ car when you were a child.
It was the way it all connected to the promise of total safety, and with it the
possibility of total danger — boogeymen, trolls, ghosts, and angels.
You remember your cousin saying he saw an angel once on the side of the
road and that he woke up with it at the head of the bed.
You shiver.
We’ve all seen the real pond, with the dragonflies and the reeds, and we’ve all slept in the reading room with the sun that bleaches the book covers to dust, and we know that just past the drive there’s a drop into cold forest, and that’s where the mosquitoes come from.
And the woman says the boogeymen too, and the angels.
At noon you can smell the rotting leaves rising up from the forest.
And every night it’s the bird woman at the window.
It’s the way the sun falls down the hill, always cold before it reaches them,
always broken and dancing, that makes the people down there crazy she says.
A piece of you is down there, but we have to go now. It’s time to go.
Back then everybody lived in cottages, and when you looked out to the
fields, burnt to ink by the setting sun, you could tell the people what you
saw and what you saw was god.