I To Stand Before
Speech ~ ~ ~ Silence
It is easier to touch a shape of air than to speak to you.
Here they call it thinking too much. Thought has nothing to do with it. The moment of encounter between myself and another; the encounter-before-crossing; the moment of encounter-about-to-become event (long scratch of glass on glass, mutual crystal transfer): too much.
How too much? The instantaneousness with which a world opens within me and I am sightless, tremulous, rooted to the spot before whomsoever-it-must-be-and-you-alone:
Another sky, washing out and out, filled with birds creating and obeying a summons, an arc: the percussive seagull crying an ocean somewhere; the golden hardwood doors of eagle wings slamming a warning to walkers to flatten their path away from the nest at the peak; the unsettling flock of smaller birds intimating the existence of a gable, a tower, spare masonry: caught up in the sense of habitual, never-accustomed flight (yours, mine) I am silent before you (everything) and the adorable mispronunciations of names.
The creation of this inner world (that expands into the outer, carries all before it) destroys the instant of encounter, making an almost immeasurably small but acutely perceptible interval; the neat rip of an abyss in which eyes wander or are dropped, voices falter or rise headlong, and the body rearranges itself into a perhaps less than social attitude:
Desert heat pushes you back, even before the metallic etiquette of polite words applies itself and seals up your tender tentative of speech; green and moist blossoming begins to crack up the arch stonework of greeting and the unique transformation of love lays out a courtyard for friendship that perhaps wanted a lesser space, perhaps wanted only a bench in the shade, perhaps has become an exile beyond welcome who turns away bewildered by plenitude.
But what do they see?
Here in my adult life I have stood outside a community doorway, a decade ago, having knocked and about to exit, dressed in martial arts white, and been asked by a woman very little my senior with a voice of blankets, Who do you belong to?, for she saw a foreign child. Here in my family life I have sat within a commercial doorway, in the decade previous, ensconced with my shopping bags in the waiting area, wearing purple silk and expecting my mother’s arrival, and
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