Growth — A Dream

Ocean’s of green grass, lush and spreading, rolling. Breath of wind stirs each green blade to whispering. Vast blue sky expands, cloudless, pouring sunlight. And at the center of all, the Tree. It exceeds imagination, defies possibility. Massive trunk a smooth patchwork of ivory and pale green-edged grays. Sinuous, leafless limbs support the sky, arch outward and beckon Spring. Its spread is easily hundreds of feet in all directions, reaching beyond the stone wall once intended to contain it. The wall tumbles on its course, following the contours of spilling land, but it no longer has purpose. The Tree has grown beyond all boundaries.

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Cranes — A Poem

Hope and heartache —

that small fluctuating flock

gathered in slender maple’s limbs,

suspended adrift,

strung at the ends of gilt threads.

Once square sheets of paper,

smooth white bellies inscribed

in ink and symbol,

folded, creased, refolded,

each careful line pressed smooth.

Cathartic act —

bright birds hatched,

conjured from one dimension,

each a care transfigured

and set to flutter within that humble tree

in ephemeral offering

to Time and weather’s whim

and dissolution —

And yet, year round,

the tree leans,

abloom in brilliant color.

 

–C.Birde

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“Crane in Flight” — C.Birde, 2/16

 

 

 

Divisions — A Dream

Comfortless hotel suite. Dank light, dull decor, three narrow beds ill-suited to rest of any kind. I long to put the infant down — just for a moment — but where? The beds arranged at the room’s edges are like benches, pressed up hard against the walls and barely wide enough to accommodate a small adult. Each is a hard and unforgiving cot in one of three lengths — stubby, near-average, or absurdly exaggerated. No place to leave a child, which would certainly roll off, fall to the floor. We’ll find no sleep here. And though placid, the child grows heavier by the minute, wrenching at my wrists and shoulder sockets.

Warm light blooms from just beyond the door, spilling over the brown walls and browner carpet. Moving toward the light, I pass a full-length mirror, hoist the child up to see its reflection. A perfect infant, cherubic and sweet. Until it smiles. Its grin rivals that of the Cheshire Cat, stretching across the child’s face, splitting it from ear to ear. A full set of adult teeth reside in that alarming mouth.

Hurrying out of the room, I enter a kitchenette. A counter divides this area from the living area in which a dozen or more young women are dancing and laughing. Hip and fashionable, they glow with youth and vibrancy, silky hair swinging as they move. I understand that they are completely oblivious to my presence. No surprise. We could not be more different — my short and sturdy stature, printed house dress, and sensible shoes fairly shout my virtual invisibility. The short tips of my no-fuss hair confirm a generational divide. Impassively, I watch them. Exuberant youth, in its natural habitat — even if this is my hotel suite. It’s not envy I feel, but difference. My own otherness. My exclusion — by fate or fortune, nurture or nature. Maybe even by purposeful intent.

Resting on the separating counter is an enormous gift basket, wrapped in bright pink cellophane. It crinkles as I pull it apart, layer by layer. Nestled within are an array of beauty products. Competing scents rise and drift — sweet perfumes, flowery soaps. Candy-colored cosmetics in jeweled acrylic cases. Pushing things aside, lifting them up for inspection and laying them out over the counter, I find nothing appealing. But maybe those girls might…

When, finally, I get their attention, they flock like prismatic birds. Such excitement! They pick through the basket’s contents, comparing notes with each other regarding product benefits, techniques, matching colors to skin tones. They are so happy and grateful, and suddenly, I am interesting enough to invite beyond the dividing counter, to listen to music, to dance, to share a drink…

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“Big Teeth” — C.Birde, 2/16

See Through Me — A Dream

Vaporous, diaphanous, insubstantial — I linger outside the door to my darkened room. Light spills from across the hall where she hurries over breakfast, head bent to read the paper spread over kitchen table.

“Not now,” she says — quick swallow from white mug. “No time,” she says — quick bite of toast. Never raising her head, her eyes, to look.

She. The only one who does not see through me.

Turn away. Down the hall. Toward the stairs. No need to walk — I drift, I float, I whisper over carpeted steps. For each slow-measured stride, two steps fall away beneath me untrod, untouched; sometimes three. The material world moves at a different rate than I, aware it has much to accomplish in uncertain time.

Out the front door, into the evening. Glide over sidewalks. Drift through this quaint neighborhood of hedges and dooryard gardens, warmly lit by star- and lamplight. Ahead, the restaurant beckons, draws me, solitary moth to all those human flames. Lovely old building, reclining in exposed, worn bricks, scrubbed of white-wash. Paired banks of leaded-glass windows fill its street-side wall, each set crowned with half-arch of bevelled and bisected panes. Prismatic light splashed over smooth polished floors; orbits of wrought-iron chandeliers flicker above. Throng of people — life, warmth, laughter. Suits and cocktail dresses, glittering adornments. Flutes of champagne. All sparkles.

Here, yet not. Move through the crowd unimpeded, unobstructed. They do not walk through me, but each knot of people, each individual approached steps lightly aside, allows room to pass. A bubble of anti-gravitational force surrounds, nudges the human tide aside. Ghostly Moses, I part my way through the sea of revelers, reach the room’s far side, pause at French doors flung open to receive night’s air. Slow glance over one shoulder, linger upon a foursome. Two sleek-haired, pretty young women clad in silver and gold, man in sharp blue suit — each steps lightly aside. Fourth member of their group remains rooted, stares in my direction. More casually dressed, in plaid shirt and jeans, he wears sandy-brown hair vaguely uncombed, beard and mustache more neatly attended. Does he look through me? Beyond me? I drift closer, my hand streaming back and forth before his face in curiosity, in challenge. He flinches with surprise, returns my wave. Smiling, he says hello.

So slow before — now, I move as the wind. Flee out the doors, across the street. Pass through traffic, cars swallowing my misted form in an amalgam of steel, leather, vinyl. Pass through the grass-sloped berm, through its darkened reservoir of dammed water. Though he pursues, calling, he cannot keep up, cannot catch me; he must contend with the solid fact of those obstacles through which I easily slide…

Days later, perhaps weeks — what concern have I for fluid time? Drawn again to wander among others. Move through this office space, slip down wide corridors that open onto great, sprawling areas filled with desks, lined with cubicles. Glass-walled conference room filled with people standing, gesturing, discussing. Lured nearer, drift closer. Invisible, disembodied. But…he is here…sees…approaches.

“Why did you run?”

Absurd question! How could I not have? The shock. To be so startled. After so much time, having grown accustomed to anonymity. To be seen…when all else (but her) see… through. Arm thrown in slow-moving, mist-limbed gesture, to encompass all those here, now — she, he, they — oblivious to my presence.

“But I see you…”

Impossible! How? He has no answer, does not know. And I am afraid. Afraid to trust, afraid that this moment will fade, his unique ability will pass. Afraid this new and unexpected fact will not see me through…

 

 

 

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