Braving the Wilds

Field Notes from the Suburban Jungle

Tag: Longing

Third Culture

“Traveling, she realized, was like a slow dismemberment of the body. It plucked the heart out of her and split it into pieces, leaving a bit behind wherever she went, never to be whole again.” -Rhian J. Martin

 

An island, in the middle of the Atlantic:
Where one could straddle two worlds,
Two homes, unify torn hearts into
One numbed organ that beats dry,
Where unlabeled keys fit into locks,
Unnamed dogs fling
Themselves at just-opened doors
Without the accompanying emotion.
The coffee is served: just so.

No longing, no pain,
An antiseptic wholeness
Without the idealized notion
Of what was lost. An emotionless
Purgatory, where the bittersweet
Morsel is tasteless, no
Canonization of those gone.
Here, we are all unacquainted human beings,
In a place with no appeal,
At present with no past.

Leave the island, lose the half
To feel the tear, taste the metallic blood;
Jump in, head first, wet the feet, swim,
And recognize tenderness again.

Immersion

“I could get used to this.”

My stoic companion’s heels
rested on the cabin railing
In front of her, her feet forming
A Vee, mirroring the mountain pass before her.
A plate of wild strawberries balanced
Precociously on her lap.

Les fraises du bois, sweeter,
More acidic than the
The caricature version
Packed in a plastic box
At the A&P, a mere suggestion
Of the genuine, alpine version:
Delicate, dark, a decidedly
Unseasoned traveller, and wholly
Uninterested in private enterprise.

Fruit foraged from the woods,
Hidden at the edges of tree carpets
That adorned the Rocky Mountains:
We came dressed, ourselves, in bells
To deter bears, miles stolen
As if by Venus herself and
Left to contemplate Icarus soaring
Around the setting sun.

An impossible image,
Framed in vertigo and
Quickened breath, I turned from
The majesty, delegated it to a corner, to
Fade with age and romance.
“I don’t want to get used to this,”
I responded, fearing prolonged
Exposure would burn it
Away, like a jammed
Eight millimeter cell, muted as
An old knee-weakening ballad,
A torch song, turned
To background music.