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Eve at 87
—after Toni Morrison’s “Eve Remembering”
I remember still the reedy ache like the saxophone's need swelling the tiled underground inside me—Again! I’d say if you asked. To swallow every seed, to know the juice of anything! That story? Like an old billboard, its words now bleached to papery skin in need of sloughing— Oh, what I know of God is not without the gavel, not merely its wooden crack—but what I know of the hand—the slick meat swell of lambing, pink of my own cheek in the worm’s wet body, the pine’s promiscuity in spring chartreusing the world, the aspen’s bony fractals lacing the face of the mountain, autumn strumming its amber ballads, summer fields frothing with milkweed, the old girls shaking out their hair, the ocean white with miles of herring milt and egg, seagull clamor hovering over glittering backs of their parents, the hunger in every gelded landscape— oh infinitely more! Could you dream what is past the carnival of temporary outbuildings, the trailers of belief, what lush grasses await, what whispers there, what other prayers you haven’t yet mouthed, even for the grip of shards, a hard snow— you too could bloom past a theory of fruit. What is one paper bag’s quarrel with the wind against the river’s muscling, its endless desire, when every mouthless vine that seeks the light is a prayer, when even the vulture wearing her blackened grief redeems the armadillo?