She is still asleep. Yet her bed lies next to our grandfather’s clock, which chimes loudly every fifteen minutes and booms for more than a minute every hour. Cows low and sway under her open window, and one young man (he looks like the young Fred Astaire, overwhelmed by longing) is duking it out with her uncle out back by the well while frightened chickens run back and forth.
The rain stops very slowly, and a wretched moon keeps silence as it shines down on the blue hoods of SUVs sleeping in driveways. Cupid’s arrow just hit me again, but I refused to hold hands with my guardian angel, despite the holes remaining in his heart. Yet the cold night air fills with the sense of our having been exempted from some terrible tax or other kind of great reckoning. They know all about you, the air seems to say, but they’re letting you live anyway.
December comes twice a year now, once as a plant, once as an earthworm. This time, people were trying a modified solar-myth approach to financial and workplace issues. You liked summer best, so you acquiesced. Earth ground up the struggle to act elegant and you tried not to laugh out loud at the air. I kept my nose clean and figured out ways to cut back through the old neighborhood into the snowy part of someone’s woods.
Dazed young engineering students walked slowly past displays of fine crystal goblets and polished silver dishes, blinking at the wattage. Angels of rerun and farewell flew high above the stars, waves took whole neighborhoods into the sea, and everyone seemed to
have that monitored look – and oh, that ring around the moon . . .
Let’s not sentimentalize primitivism, though – I looked up authority in a number of books, got shocked by the prices, checked my rights at The Law Store and voted. Boy, what a surprise! My candidate glimpsed a manx napping on a laptop and took cheer from that, so what the hey. He was driving a jazz guy’s Cutlass and his money was clearing up, like a nose. And the wallpaper: each Tenniel Alice in Wonderland illustration was given its own little space.
She is still asleep. A warm light seems to hang a few feet above her—is it an illusion, suggested by the lateness of the hour? Prickly, ripe, shaky, complex, full of cracks, Mother Earth opens herself, but not for our comfort. We lie in our red sheets and look at the glare from the street and cannot ask each other a single question. I’m a responsible adult now, with a pair of tin cans tied to the end of my name! The vast warm darkness . . .
And then I deliver my notes to the neighbors and everything looks peachy again.