Thursday, February 12, 2009

Cooking Burdock in a Thaw

The streets steamed all night, blurring carlight and moon, and dogs barked a level path through the neighborhood. At dawn I shut the window against chill that by then had settled on every surface. Washed out and rough with sleeplessness, I prowled my house in the gray air. Fumbling in the kitchen, weeping and blowing my nose, I thought I heard the the Mississippi darkness rolling down to the sea. Still I haven't heard from you, and what the morning brings is saturated in that blue.

You forgot to take the old leather boots when you left and I put them on every morning just to remember you. The cat curls up by them in the afternoon if they're in sun. I ache and feel a thirst no amount of winter-cold water can quench. The day is night, and night is on the blink

My shirt is frayed and rinsed to paleness, and cold air billows the sleeves as I tread the creaking floor boards and scurff the old bokhara rug I trashpicked from across the street last fall. The air in my house barely moves, a whisper in the room like pampas grass on the moon. I sing under my breath a song that's a hand on my tongue fingering saliva out, that clogs my throat like caramel shedding sugar. That last day, we walked to the gallery where your painting was just taken down while you explained why. I heard in the spaces between sentences the loneliness that had come in with you. Before you, I didn't have that. And now that you're not here, I have the loneliness you brought me.

In the kitchen I brushed dirt off a bundle of burdock root, then cut it into pieces, put it to soak in water with a splash of vinegar. I filled a kettle and put it on to boil. The early train from Chicago whistled in the west, mourning the miles gone, the days, the nights. It pulled at my throat making me answer, and answer. How that jiggle and rock always stuns me, the motion jerking and lulling and going.

I emptied the pan of soaking burdock; then filled it with half the boiled water. While it soaked a half-hour I picked up several lines off the floor, a poem unfinished in the glow of morning, hair in the corners, dust all around, birds at the feeder. And when words came, they pierced like steel guitar in a song about leaving. Fresh frost surfaces fooled me into light again.

Then I dumped out the tepid water of a second rinse, and filled the pot of burdock chunks for cooking, the half hour needed just enough to start a murmur, a full boil of gratitude, with morning's plain white sky opaque and still, day's long miracle still to come.



Anonymous Deborah Godin said...

This is so imtimate to read it almost feels like a tresspass, until I remind myself that it is on a blog... Not much else I can say. Some things defy the usual comments, like "enjoyed" or even "beautiful" and must simply be acknowledged: I read this, with thanks.

8:39 AM  
Blogger Springer Kneeblood said...

The post says Feb. 12, but I've been here almost daily and didn't see the new one until just now. I recognize a lot in this new, quite beautiful post. I hate calling it a "post." That's crass and far too disrespectful; this is wonderful new art.

3:12 PM  
Blogger BreukelenDisplace said...

Such intense visual word compositions. They send me places of warmth and comfort. Each word a boat...

10:42 AM  
Blogger Wayfarer Scientista said...

beautifully written.

5:31 PM  
Blogger hele said...

your words slowly drifted through the space they created all around me.

each one leaving a sense of wonder.

12:21 PM  
Blogger Johnny Virgil said...

excellent piece.

1:05 PM  
Blogger jo(e) said...

MMmmm ... nice.

5:51 AM  
Blogger ladyb said...

Beautiful prose.

11:38 PM  
Blogger Life With Dogs said...

Great work, had mu fullest attention in the midst of a crazy day.

11:30 AM  
Blogger BrightBoy said...

I just wanted to let you know I have a new blog. Go to my profile to find it!

9:50 AM  
Blogger Poppy Buhk-suhm said...

Hey, are you OK? It's been so long. I hope all is well with you.

9:18 PM  
Blogger heidi said...

Why is there no more? I want more!

5:02 AM  

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