Mom swivels her chair w/ the stack of heaping christmas cards, peeling them open like promises, and reads aloud a solstice quote:
“The darkness can show us the light’ and it comes with a candle that someone far away had spun and sent in novelty. It’s the kind you can’t blow out.
The collective sentiment drips from everyone’s wagging, holiday tongues and then washes away with the sherry. Maybe that’s it, though. It’s been falling to dark so early these days; getting harder to see whats gone sleeping ---
And that’s when I knew what had happened.
The jolt hit me hard – dragging me back again - no mistaking the weight of that heavy heart of yours; melding me to the memories with mortar for its grooves…
Back to when I reeled in bed from the heartbreak that Winter; three whole months in the same vacant expression; chapping lips & sleepwalking about a mission bed; a whole season when I only awoke to the toll of those dreams, where all things shook tremendously, in a world crumbling; as I would teeter and dip amidst the burning ruins, deep in the trenches we found; where I held your pretty little forest fingers – vines for limbs, even bolder than mine; and the shifty hearth still churning the ashes of the aftermath; and catching my dress in that torrid wind that sentenced me to forever chase the last few fleeting, burning words, forever - never catching.
And the thought of it leads me to other questions now, like: ‘why do the fireplaces stay standing like that?’ If it was all just meant to burn as it did, why didn’t the whole place just go? Why do the pots still hang from their nothings?
I want flowers in those plots, cuz I could grow them to the moon, but I’ve got those old foundations and their fires just consume.
Are they a novelty candle?... cuz I’ve been sifting so long now and it’s all I can figure.
It reminds me of the old man I see when I drive that old backroad; stitched to his chair as he peers from rise to set, span to span, against that massive, lone tree in the oceans of wheat - commanding the winds like a beacon.
Father time wanders so close to his eyes that I bet that old man hears him breathing sometimes, and it always makes me wonder, with intensely heavy sighs as I bite my little lip... Had it happened to him too? Because I know he’d be there now. That man never moves.
If I shut my eyes long enough and revisited that place – where the beams still smolder; where your eyes still reside [and not a day older]… and if I took a trail or two I never had wandered, back when I wandered – would I meet him in a clearing - chasing his own last fleeting, burning words, forever, never catching?
Did he spend his life reeling in bed? Is he sleepwalking now, and brave enough to do it outside? Are these fields his ruins? And were they ever his heyday? Is this the aftermath or a holy consolation?
And my mind begins thinking of abstract things: Is HE a novelty candle? If I ever stopped my car, cracked the door and wandered over, would he be a man or a mannequin? Would he be another trail to the fever? If I stepped from that road and down that ditch, onto that giant heap of blowing wheat where time doesn’t move when the rest passes by it, would he melt into the wind and scream for me to follow?
Would HE be the last few fleeting, burning words, forever, never catching?