Thought Trafficking

We do our bit.
June 9, 2009, 6:32 am
Filed under: living

I came back to my regular abode last week after over a month away in various cities, sleeping on various beds, and in my absence the garden had exploded. What was tentative became tentacles, green raspberries bunched fetal on the vine. G. brings in handfuls of spinach, kale, radishes; Rapunzel’s parents are due over the hedge any time now in search of satiation. A fence was built between us and the neighbours while I was away to keep the deer from eating the roses, but tonight we found that they can shuffle under on their knees.

(As for my room, my bed was creased and rumpled in exactly the same way. Everything was covered in a fine layer of drywall dust from the renovation of the laundry room, and I excavated with the vacuum cleaner before moving back in.)

The first round of flowers has wilted and fallen – the cherry blossoms, the dogwood, the lilacs, the magnolias. Up come the poppies, the foxglove (digitalis), the intoxicating and deadly. The poppies are bigger than my hands and colours that you find on the inside of your body, big black pearls on the inside, the foxglove blooms in an upward stroke. These aren’t flowers to pause to inhale. These flowers have bits of night inside of them, bits of bone.

Tonight while the sun sent horizontal shadows throught the kitchen window, G. came inside clutching kale and proceeded to deal it out on the kitchen counter (one frilly for you, one frilly for me, one big for you, one big for me) for our respective vegetable needs. The first kale I ever ate was dark and violet veined, but this kale has no hint of purple. I ran tap water over the leaves and they didn’t get wet, the water just pooled and dribbled  away as though it were a moth’s wing. For some reason I thought of some line from T.S. Eliot: some infinitely gentle, infinitely suffering thing. I realise it’s only kale.

I ripped the kale into little bits with my fingers to put in a stirfry. I wanted something that came out dyed and tasting dark, so this stirfry consisted of kale, eggplant, zucchini and portabello mushrooms, among other things. Some days I have the feeling that everything is written on my skin: all of my indiscretions, every sharp thought or careless word. I have the feeling that I dwell in these things, not that they dwell in me. I don’t know how to deal with this, how to incorporate this collection of acts into my life (that is, learn from it) or rid myself of it. I just know how to think about them, while my fingers are busy ripping kale in late-evening sunlight.

When I went to take the compost out, there was a dog that looked like a wolf standing in the middle of the garden, still and lost. She would only sniff my hand from a distance and just watched me with wintery white-blue eyes while I stepped around her and over the peas to chuck a container full of vegetable matter into the bin. It turns out that she was the neighbour’s dog, her own yard was only a few feet away from where we found her, but she was frozen outside of her own environment.

After supper I had a stroopwafel (as long as there are people in my life who bring me stroopwafels, I shall never be lonely) and went for a walk, down to the beach to watch all of the lights come on. Now the sun is away, and the house smells like ginger from my supper and the Mexican hotsauce that G. is making. The cats talk to her and she talks back to them.


3 Comments so far
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kale is one of jupiter’s moons. named after one of the charities, vying with venus to be consort of hephaestus. and hardy, reaching through frost and clay to spread its central leaves.

we do our bit.

Comment by biqbal

this is one of those entries that I just want to read over and over again, breathe in deep of coastal air surrounded by green growing things, and breathe out, looking west.

Comment by colleen


I dreamed the earth perfectly flat,
not round,
and I lifted my arms and was found.

I am looking east, my friend.

Comment by Larisa

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