I think of the children who will never know, intuitively, that a flower is a plant’s way of making love, or what silence sounds like, or that trees breathe out what we breathe in.
Subscribe and Save up to 55%
Franklin Mills lives in Middletown, Connecticut.
Once upon a time when the old heaven and the old earth were still more or less in working order, we somehow missed the signs they’d soon pass away. Were we ever blind. We buried our heads in the sand while the stars fell glittering around us. They dropped like heavy hints, but we didn’t have a clue. Why? Because we were creatures, I suppose, creatures of habit, with no imagination to picture the end, like moles busy tunneling towards a steel trap. That’s easy enough to see now that a dust of atoms are whirling around me as they begin to rough out a new creation.
When Rex Belknap quit his wife and their assorted little Belknaps, it was another woman who beckoned him away. Strange how some men seem to play out the whole of their lives in the laps of women, leaping from apron to apron only to lose themselves again in the ruffles. Ah, but stay your judgement until you hear. For it was not some glossy jetsam washed up on his shore, not a Mary Flirt, the mermaid, come with siren song and hips ashimmer to win his heart. It was old Gramma Belknap, long dead, long lamented, now swum up from his memory. A Joan of Arc, a Florence Chadwick, she crawled her way into his imagination, recaptured it, and from there beseiged his soul. And the white sea unfurled in ruffles all around.
How the dog felt about the canary I can describe in no other way: she worshipped it. How else would you explain her devotion? Fascination, perhaps? All right. But worship, at least in part, is fascination taken to its extreme. I leave it to you to judge if this wasn’t an extreme case.
Once on a time long ago in that part of the present that is hidden from general view and which lies in the unreachable future, there were two, only two beings. Where they came from I have no idea and probably they didn’t either. Who could have told them? But I am certain that they were named Mr. Nous and Mme. Ordinat. They lived in a place called the Abode of Becoming. I really can’t say what it was like, because I’ve never been there. No doubt, though, it in no way resembled where you or I live.
The problem rears in the most unkindly moment. I am there, I am reaching out to grasp what I can of her, to feel my jolt abroad, tympanic in her taut neck, to sniff out my fantasy in the maze of scents, to catch her sigh when she receives the last of me, and giving it over, all of it, plus the weave of percale, plus the weightless springlight striping the blinds, giving it over to the unity of spasms when then, just exactly, the transformation happens. I am there and I am not and the bodily process arrives at an end without me — so many cells of myself, foreign emissaries, riding the waves into her body.