In thinking of her sister.

by: Joanna Newsom

The meadowlark and the chim-choo-ree and the sparrow,
set to the sky in a flying spree, for the sport of the pharaoh.
A little while later the Pharisees dragged a comb through the meadow.
Do you remember what they called up to you and me, in our window?

There is a rusty light on the pines tonight
sun pouring wine, lord, or marrow,
into the bones of the birches
and the spires of the churches
jutting out from the shadows.
The yoke and the ax, and the old smokestacks, and the bale and the barrow,
and everything sloped like it was dragged from a rope
in the mouth of the south below.

We've seen those mountains kneeling, felten(?) and gray.
We thought our very hearts would up and melt away.
From the snow in the nighttime,
just going
and going.
And the stirring of wind chimes,
in the morning,
in the morning.
Helps me find my way back in,
from the place where I have been.

And, Emily, I saw you last night by the river.
I dreamed you were skipping little stones across the surface of the water.
Frowning at the angle where they were lost and slipped under forever,
in a mud-cloud, mica-spangled, like the sky'd been breathing on a mirror.

Anyhow, I sat by your side, by the water.
You taught me the names of the stars overhead that I wrote down in my ledger.
Though all I knew of the rote universe were those Pleiades loosed in December,
I promised you I'd set them to verse so I'd always remember...

That the meteorite is a source of the light
and the meteor's just what we see.
And the meteoroid is a stone that's devoid of the fire that propelled it to thee.

And the meteorite's just what causes the light
and the meteor's how it's perceived.
And the meteoroid's a bone thrown from the void that lies quiet in offering to thee.

You came and lay a cold compress upon the mess I'm in.
Threw the windows wide and cried, "Amen, amen, amen!"
The whole world stopped to hear you hollering,
and you looked down and saw now what was happening.

The lines are fading in my kingdom,
though I have never known the way to border them in.
So the muddy mouths of baboons and sows and the grouse and the horse and the hen,
grope at the gate of the looming lake that was once a tidy pen.
And the mail is late and the great estates are not lit from within.
The talk in town's becoming downright sickening.

In due time we will see the far buttes lit by a flare.
I've seen your bravery and I will follow you there.
And row through the nighttime,
so healthy,
gone healthy all of a sudden.
In search of the midwife
who can help me,
who can help me.
Help me find my way back in.
And there are worries where I've been.

And say, say, say in the lee of the bay, "Don't be bothered.
Leave your troubles here where the tugboats shear the water from the water."
(Flanked by furrows, curling back, like a match held up to a newspaper.)

Emily, they'll follow your lead by the letter.
And I make this claim, and I'm not ashamed to say I knew you better:
what they've seen is just a beam of your sun that banishes winter.

Let us go, though we know it's a hopeless endeavor!
The ties that bind, they are barbed and spined and hold us close forever.

Though there is nothing that would help me come to grips with a sky that is gaping and yawning.
There is a song I woke with on my lips as you sailed your great ship towards the morning.

Come on home, the poppies are all grown knee-deep by now.
Blossoms all have fallen, and the pollen ruins the plow.
Peonies nod in the breeze and while they wetly bow
with hydrocephalitic listlessness, ants mop up their brow.

And everything with wings is restless, aimless, drunk and dour.
Butterflies and birds collide at hot, ungodly hours.
And my clay-colored motherlessness rangily reclines,
come on home, now, all my bones are dolorous with vines!

Pa pointed out to me, for the hundredth time tonight,
the way the ladle leads to a dirt-red bullet of light.
Squint skyward and listen,
loving him, we move within his borders.
Just asterisms in the stars' set order.

We could stand for a century,
with our heads cocked,
in the broad daylight at this thing.
Joy.  Landlocked
in bodies that don't keep.
with the sweetness of being,
'til we don't be.

Told take this
and eat this.
Told the meteorite is the source of the light
and the meteor's just what we see.
And the meteoroid is a stone that's devoid of the fire that propelled it to thee.

And the meteorite's just what causes the light
and the meteor's how it's perceived.
And the meteoroid's a bone thrown from the void that lies quiet in offering to thee...

-L (2/10/12)

III. He exhaled his brewing anger, trying to let it leave him.

He'd been working on his patience.  He'd been working off his pride.  But he hated her being right about him.

Trying to let it go, he began, "Okay.  The way this conversation just went, I guess we both know by now that we're coming to our end.   You know?  It's just...we've been going different directions lately.  I've decided we should make it official."

"Ha!" she laughed bitterly, now despite herself.  "You've 'decided to make it official'?  You mean, the fact that you're leaving because I'm still grieving, and you're over it?  Rad.  How magnanimous of you, dude.  Well let's then.  'Make it official.'  We can start with you getting the fuck out of my shop.  How's that for official?"

By now her voice had risen in anger.  She was pacing the limited floor space unconsciously as she spoke, and had absent-mindedly turned the lock on the front door entrance to engaged, as well as the sign hanging from it to "Closed."  Locking them both in out of habit, despite what she was saying.  That freezing her from a moment ago he still couldn't handle; this boiling version he could.  Almost blind-folded by now.  Even with his hands tied.

He walked to her then and positioned his body directly in her orbital path.  She nearly ran into his chest before she realized he was standing there, and her instant hesitation was enough for him to infiltrate and redirect her quick-breathed pounding heart by wrapping his arms around her and pulling her tightly against him.  She didn't even struggle this time.  Just tightened for a moment before letting herself fall into him.  Not wrapping her arms back around him, of course, but no longer fighting either.

He wondered how it was possible to know someone so well, and still be able to let that person go.  Love or not, really being beside the point.  He supposed he'd find out before long.  He supposed they both would.

-L (2/5/12)

II. And when he went the wind called him on his game.

The narrow beige leaves fell insistent on his shoulders, called by the persuasive gust.  He nearly turned back.  Maybe he should have.

Too late.  Indie came out of the shop saluted by a jingling bell atop the door.  Her smile was bright; her eyes were guarded.  As  defensive as she always seemed to be, now.  She gave a slight wave of hand inviting him to join her inside, then slipped back in again without waiting for him to respond.  He followed her through the jingling door.

The bookshop gave off the appearance of having just been born, as it always did.  Stacks of books on the ground piled as high as his waist, ranged from classic literature ever-more-real-than-life, to stranger-than-fiction nonfiction.  Indie picked each one by hand, and the endeavor had gradually become her entire existence during the past year-and-a-half.   That's why he was here, really.  Because she was different.

"I know why you're here," Indie announced suddenly, default smile gone.  Her tone already sounded spiteful.  Deadened.  Resentful.  Maybe rightfully so.

"Is that right?" he answered automatically, already feeling defensive.  This is why he had to do it.  He hated it when she challenged him so pointedly like that.  It felt too dramatic.  Almost embarrassing.  And he resented her right back, for doing that to her otherwise lovely voice.

"Yes.  You've been sitting on that park bench across the street, staring at my shop all morning.  You've been steeling yourself.  Why else?"

"You tell me," he replied, annoyed despite himself.  Despite the whole morning he'd spent preparing himself against it, as she noted.

"No.  Let's just call this one your fight, shall we?"

"So we're fighting now, are we?" he shot back.

"Mitch, please.  Just tell me why you're here.  Let's just get this over with.  Please."

-L (2/1/12)