Manifesto

 

One

 

My mother is in the garden putting her hands in the dirt.                                      She kneels, as if in prayer, and sifts the soil through her fingers,                                                                                              ohh-ing and ahh-ing at its richness.

 

“Your soil is amazing, it’s so, so dark…” my Mother stammers out, “I’ve never     seen untended soil so healthy”

 

Hovering near her shoulder, I strain to see what is so magnificent, so       undeniably perfect about the ground behind my small city house.                                      I admit, I haven’t a clue.                                                                                  My mother turns to look at me, hands still deep in the earth, her face                                                                          a maze of solemn craziness. And just like that, I realize

 

everything. Every moment of every struggle for her approval, the years of pushing myself to be something,              to achieve something,  to win her over with my successes; I could have saved myself the heartache years ago.                                           All I ever needed to do was buy a little house on a side street with a thirteen by thirteen foot patch of unused dirt out back. She is proud of this, of dirt.

 

My dirt.

 

Two

 

The elephant in the room is usually the last to know she is an elephant.

 

Until the inevitable happens,         until she begins to mature and evolve into her true form.               A slight growth of trunk,         a slackening of skin becomes an obvious wrinkle,   her step becomes heavier,     her eyes sad,       followed by a shift into occupying the third person narrative of her own life.

 

The elephant begins this narration as defense mechanism, only to wake up one morning as a supporting character, that exists solely to further the storyline along,           to fill

 

in the details necessary to the reader,

partaking in less action with each turn of page,

serving merely as an agent to bring the lead characters into fresh light,                   to reveal

 

their motives and thoughts,

 

the elephant’s job is to propel these characters through the story,

bring them full speed to the height and thrill of the story.

 

Alas, the elephant is never there for the climax.

A third person narrator, she steps back, slips among the shadows

 

and executes a bow unseen by the reader.

 

Three

I peddle my bicycle beside a river.

I peddle my legs numb,

peddle my mind numb,

peddle myself into wind,

peddle myself into distraction.

 

A migration of Canada geese pack the pathway, I navigate through them, listen to them curse me,       wings pounding a cadence,                                           I appreciate

 

their disgust at my presence, pushing against me.

My life becomes a motion picture, reel after reel, each frame an empty bicycle, clicking endlessly through projector,                     spliced and taped,                         spliced and taped,

until the river ends or the bicycle drops.

The sweet thud of a body under a bumper,

the street wet and sticking,

a puddle of film bleeding red as my boots,

red as my scarf.

 

 

 

I peddle my bicycle beside a river.

I peddle my spine numb,

peddle my words numb,

peddle myself into wind,

peddle myself into distraction.

 

 

My bicycle,

my peddles,

my moveable manifesto.

 

four

An elephant never forgets, what has she to remember?

 

 

Five

 

My mother is in the garden putting her hands in the dirt.

Pulling plants from plastic pots, she gently places them in the ground,       patting that

deep,   rich soil, solidly around their roots. She plants begonias, azaleas, a holly bush, the garden taking new shape around her,                         burying her hands wrist deep in the earth,                               she deposits bulbs of tulips and gladiolas for next year.

 

I watch from the window, fill the kettle and light the stove,                                                       grind coffee beans and rinse the French press. I set out cups and saucers,         the sugar bowl and cream, then tap the window.

 

My mother stands, brushes dirt from her knees.

My dirt.

                           My dirt.

 

I swallow hard,

swallow the bitterness I feel rising in my throat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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