Under the Big Tree

Under the Big Tree


My legs are covered in that thin film of dirt, left over from lying in the grass,
And from staring at the parts of the trees that vanish when the air becomes callous, no longer sweet and wet fire.
A fly with navel orange eyes looks up at me from my prickled dirt legs and rubs the air with its own segmented legs, making fire out of fire with nothing to burn but daylight.
It’s dusk, or the time right before dusk when everything is gold and blurry.
My skin is a teacup with condensation around its rim, it’s the color of the sun when it looks at its own reflection, blinding and boundless.

There’s a give to the bench, a deep but formidable sink where we sit.
It’s holding the weight of a smile, one that plunges so deeply in between two points, a parabola that sounds like summer.
I look at the sky: it’s turning over, but still there.
There are these loaded clouds whose seams might burst at any moment, cool juice raining down on a park full of people who forgot their umbrellas.
Every cloud has been colored in by an optimist; thick lines of silver-gold highlight the dark buckets that promise to dump and then disappear.

I sit in the smile some more, I think about how okay it would be if it poured.
How I’d sit in the grin, even deeper now from the weight of rain, how everything would smell like grass clippings and trash, a whiff of which I won’t ever turn down.
A squirrel looks up from its nut, the one it’s been gnawing at while a pigeon watched, jealous, its orange eyes huge, a reflection of an offering that’s been claimed.
It’s smelling the rain, or maybe the perfume of the white-haired woman who tosses it food and kicks at the pigeon to keep its distance.
The woman’s walker is wet with sweat, slippery and precarious life support.
It’s the color of the rim around the clouds, a sliver that means “give me your hand.”
The way rain draws you close, huddled under an umbrella or an awning or scaffolding with strangers, soaked and waiting for the air to be still.

And inside, where rain pelts the window, quieter now through double panes and wet in a way we can’t feel.
Streaks on glass that invite you outside and advise you stay in.
A gust of wind that knocks us onto a bed, wet hair like a dog’s and dry clothes we’ve just slipped into.
A fan that chills a lukewarm liquid that cannot be differentiated between sweat and rain and maybe they’re the same thing anyway: precipitation from the world inside me or just from the world.
Outside, the bench breaks, overcome by a giddy smile that dipped so deep in the middle it snapped.
A welcome destruction.

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