Even in winter, lids closed, light shines through:
I believe in downing espresso at dawn – fast, then sipping a second, steaming, energizing a swollen sky, darkening my own gypsy eyes and your cagey spells rifling my composure, and oh, how the morning glows somewhere beyond the damp wall that sighs and settles low –
I believe in the seasons, in the renewal of song after Siberian years, in the search for maples to tap – tin bucket swinging, crunching in the path of our own meandering footsteps; it was an earlier day when time seemed abundant and we veered without plan –
I believe in the unannounced muse spreadeagled on honey-hued wood, competitive and desirous as the ball bounces between her thighs, as Jax skitter across the floor and we trade in chocolate –
And I believe in chocolate: in Hampton Beach fudge, in mocha cake with curled shavings, in bittersweet baker’s bars and the entire town of Hershey, Pennsylvania –
I believe in outrageous hats: fedoras and caps, velvet and straw, plumes, veils, brims tipped just so, the audacity to possess an entire collection. I believe in a woman’s penchant for pumps, in the female ankle, in black hose and lace and those who unabashedly admit adoration for the feminine form and the miracles of mutual surrender –
I believe in the man who knows this is not a game but a minuet, and I believe in our dizzying dance, our vertiginous highs; I believe in our turning.
I believe in vermilion, in crimson, in burgundy, in ruby – the deepest reds in a valley of fire – blankets, boots, lips, book covers – red leather skirts on women old enough to know better and bold enough to flout the rules –
I believe in yellow doors that brighten blue clapboard, in rust-colored row homes, in overstuffed flower boxes; I believe in old women who do not erase their pleasure or their grief as they soap, scrub, and sweep stoops each morning as though it is measurement of rewards due –
I believe in Dostoevsky, in Baudelaire, in Hepplewhite’s inlay, in Miller’s Paris and Dine’s tools, in Tamayo’s burnt orange and watermelon pink; I believe in one hundred golden steps to Mayan heaven (and never a route down), the scent of cabinetmaker’s glue, oil on canvas, the bite of acid on copper and paper smoothed, rubbed, caressed and pulled across ink in the artist’s act of midwifery –
I believe in the womb and cling to its memory, listening through the chill stethoscope of dream to tiny hearts, their rapid drumming inside the belly where I become the drawer as the surgeon rummages for socks and pulls sons from my glistening frame.
We don our given names and I believe we are shaped by them; we lose sight of our means to reshape them, to shed them altogether if we choose, to negate the need for language and stand instead on our heads and rant with our eyes, hear through our fingertips, and serenade with a kiss; only then shall we begin to unlearn, to stand upright, to rant in key, to listen, to shed, to reshape, to lose sight – to grant ourselves new names tossed into the depths of a cranial sky. There, we may cull our gods of clouds, of unrelenting rains without the promise of colors as afterword; yet radiance will reach down, mist to whisper:
This is our belonging, boulder and blade, clay and star, bone and breath.
I believe in lightning that strikes twice, in being young and foolish, old and foolish, sowing the seed of one small seditious yes that seduces the second, that nurtures the third and begetting the fourth a gaggle of yeses vie for the head of the line.
Yes owes no favors; it makes no excuses.
I believe in plain talk, free will, rebellious spirit, silken flesh; I believe in strangers who become friends, friends who become lovers, lovers on trains, accents that spin imaginary tales of origin, episodes to rise and flourish and ultimately fade into an implausible past.
What remains is touch and scent, scent and flavor, flavor that lingers even when you abandon the warm kitchen and its familiar aromas, here, where heat is plentiful; pines are felled during storm and hauled across earth, sawed and stacked, kindled until we succumb to the sound of spitting ash and spark, to the sun’s fire, tongue’s fire, sweltering summers and Northern nights –
I believe in savoring the taste of everything on my lips, even as you offer a mask of delight as though bitterness is forbidden and something in which I cannot believe, though I know it must position itself on the palate. Politely, I decline the Amaretto, the Cassis, the Calvados, aware of what sweetens, what will come or not, believing – even in winter, lids closed, light shines through.