Dear Mr. Jones,
Forsythias’ impossibly small blossoms were promised, but these mouthed back, earthward—yes because something is happening here but you don’t know what it is, do you Mister Jones¹. What body part, what geography— indecipherable, my finger’s archipelago strums uncertain foliage where a second season moves through me unacknowledged. Today when I stood in the street, I felt my shadow burn its betrayal through the pavement. I recognized my heart’s sobriety as a true misfit. I wanted to tell my old lovers that they could all stand next to me. That the draining of blood from their lips was anger, not abandonment. I wanted to explain to them, shoulder to shadow, that when they passed through the waters, I would be with them; and when they passed through rivers they would not be overwhelmed. When they walked through fire, as in my song², they would not be burned³, they would be bridegrooms. They would not be strangers unrecognized by flame. Of all the things I wanted, the one thing I wanted most was to create the past differently. Mr. Jones, I fear my own interpretation of self as selfless. As if once given I will be permanently troubled. My words cross through the law. Our children will gossip, live with dreams knotted to the back of their throat; the air in their next century will be thin, their voices misunderstood, they will pray as if to a secretly dressed tribe whose image will be found sealed in stale envelopes. It might be someone like this who blesses us?
¹ Bob Dylan, “Ballad of a Thin Man” from Highway 61 Revisited
² “My Song” refers to Leonard Cohen’s “Joan of Arc”
³ Isaiah 43:2
Thank you to Marcia LeBeau for the inspiration/impetus