Saturday, February 23, 2008

Searching for Bones

We wander across hills of dust searching for bones. The forests are gone, the wood turned to stone. Leaves, as faint as ghosts, glimmer in the rocks. Remnants of seashells crushed into the dirt crackle beneath our boots. Above us blue sky; below us brown earth, and mystery.

What turned a forest into sand and rock?

What stole the last sloth and sealed the last butterfly in amber?

Who am I to a being so ancient that my life lasts no longer than a beat of her heart? When did the child begin to believe she owned the earth? Somewhere between the sun god and the logic of science, I have lost my place. This land that was rock, then forest, then ice, now dust, whispers away my worries.

Her fingers slip past my layers of fleece and wool and wrap themselves around my neck, slide down my back. “My belly is fire,” she says, “and I can hold my breath forever.”

I laugh, and my companions turn to see if I have discovered mammal bones amongst the seashells and shark teeth. I shake my head, and they turn back into the hills. I stick my fingers into her flesh. “Don’t let me change you.” I press my lips to her skin and let my tears fill the holes I made in her. ““I can’t hold my breath that long.”

Who will step on the bones of my children 10 thousand million years from now? Who will wonder where they went, and why?

Now the lady laughs and lifts her wings, disappearing like a butterfly in stone.

1 comment: said...

This is an evocative, delightful piece. It shows you in an unfamiliar state, too. Showing anxiety. Personally, I don't think I've ever known you to be anxious. Lovely post.