sometime after the houses recede into pine, after the sound of engine gives way to chirps and gurgles, there comes a moment. a moment of complete immersion. accompanying this immersion is a strange sort of pride - pride in your ability to pacify an entire ecosystem just by virtue of your stealth. animal apprehension melts away in the face of how natural and unobtrusive you are. you are, and have always been, a part of this, and the hawks in their perches all nod in approval. and in this moment, all at once, though it seems to happen gradually over many eons of growth and decay and regrowth, the stone of your humanity crumbles, falling soundlessly among moss as ivy wreathes about it in time-lapsed quickness. you become goldgreen movement.
then (always, always) there comes a next moment. a moment heralded by a metallic crunch. confusedly you think: that is not the sound of hobbit-feet on soft wet earth. half of you says: forget this sound. let it sink into the mud as we continue on into the eternal amber evening. but the other half, containing some surviving scrap of wretched curiosity, says: just one quick look down. there you see your dirty fluorescent sneaker on a half-crumpled can of busch light. to the left is another can. to the right is a used condom. a rank sewersmell floods your nostrils as you look back up, to the startled flap of wings and the far-off lowing of a truck’s horn.
One April we drove all the way from Canada to Carolina my father mother brother and I.
Stayed in a motel sand in the sheets sand in the car sand in our pockets months after we got home.
Ocean air plush as kissing or the secret parts of plants secrets were dropping out of us there.
Walking through a restaurant all together to our table past eyes and sugarbowls we realized-
same moment he did - my brother’s shame of us. We saw girls notice him, stiffening their backs.
Loneliness hit. It bleached our lips. I like the word caesura but I didn’t know it then.
We knew tans. Fates. Finery! Finery among us. We drove home. Parked in our quiet driveway
(the forsythia had bloomed). Went into the kitchen. Stood with our bags. Hum of the clock on the stove.
My mother put down two crates of oranges beside the fridge. Straightened up, hand on her back.
Fish sticks for supper? she said to no one in particular.