Records of cross-examination.
The first thing we grasped was that we were made of one part here and another just outside us. The next was that Time was made of more than one kind of stuff. Now it held us; now it was a river beyond. Now an elaborate ice castle, now air and what flew on it. Then it was in us somehow, overlapping breath but more.
Was it a fabric? Some spoke as though it were something to be measured, conquered, won. But then, some spoke of nearly everything in those terms. Let time no longer be imposed on us, said another, imagining it a medium to be shaped, like clay. Some had a bias toward thinking that the moment at hand was a new Time. For others, the future could not be born without events, and until these happened, none existed that we could name.
There was much we couldn’t name. This was not a beloved idea. Often, it seemed to be measuring us, and while many fell, none of these were Time.
The ringing went on. It dropped from the sky, filled our boots. When it stopped, the hillside hissed. We bleated against it to distract ourselves back to our shackles, our shovels back to work. What were we digging? But forgetting was the point, don’t mention it, intentions slipped in easy drifts we ripped new jokes from last year’s clothes, we could see no cause to wear their kind again. Night came and the ringing returned to us until.
We took off our boots and left them to catch what we could no longer hear. No, we whispered. This is not the war. We watched the skies. It was not time.
Near the end, you explained that something strange was happening. You had grown accustomed to a powerful presence. One day, without explanation, it left. What followed had more force but no face. You called it sound.
Later, people wondered if you were letting go or just beginning something new. But even when a body means to hold, so much of what happens slips through.
Before you left, you painted reminders. You pulled us into its rough color. You said, listen.
Inspired by the sound paintings of Anne Truitt.
We all fall from our infinities. These landings have a way of knocking the wind from the lungs. After the crash, there’s a stillness before it begins again. Inhale, exhale.
Loquat, cypress, tire swing. Field mouse, damselfly, dark-eyed junco. Brush rabbit, baby, coyote. All of this before you even find your feet again.
What will you do without your delusions of endlessness? The unbound forever vanished, here is a beginning instead.