They are burning the cherry orchards, the lot of love. Should she move the raspberry bushes today, before summer pushes them forward begging them to multiply? Instead she sits down beside her husband Minus Minus and says "speak to me of love". But he is holden to the vanishing, the place his dreams shall take him. So she turns her ears towards the raking winds on the belched up bed of leaves between them and whispers "move me, move me", her little mantra, her whispering towards life, towards a her of love.

Living among the eucalyptus is a practice in subtlety. If you reach out to name them you will feel yourself become magnified, lost to the intricacies of identification. She make chapters of them, while with all else she loses her sense of division, her one here, another there. Always there has been something in her that says I do not know the meaning of the word sentence. The full stop baffles me, as does the indentation which marks the beginning of the paragraph. Minus is perhaps her lover because he failed as a student of mathematics, unable as he was to understand the point at which the number one began.

She plants gardens and asks herself, "If you crush flower lawns while you lay sleeping, can it be an antidote to love?"

"I will have poppies", she shouts into the troubled air.

At night the animals die beneath lights of furious inaction. They die under the banner of boredom, not for knowing the bright bushes of her neighbours' gardens, but because here there are husbands with wives who tear at them discontent and swollen, or because they, the husbands, are fidgety with drugs. Soft are the children unknown to their father. Dead are the creatures which the night cannot harbor.

If there is no fairy tale of a splinter locked and growing inside a woman's finger, then she shall be it. Waiting for cities is like waiting for monsters, she will breathe nowhere there.

In the physical beauty of others she finds no room for metaphor. They are the shapely houses, the executioner's chair.

Tonight she says to Minus, "hold me, hold me". She is tired of moving, tired of rumbling and scorching beneath unlit stairs. His heart is there, somewhere there he hid it, but she finds only the hacked out part of animals, more fairy tales, or herself unread inside a mirror.

"They will take you away Minus Minus, you who have never been here, then you will blossom in the dry hot winds of November and perish on a star".

There are dead horses behind her in fields which once were treed, now bare. They lie cheek to cheek, the breathless, the clinging towards the earth now, the bay, the appaloosa, the chestnut tide. She gardens against it, mutters "rosebush rosebush". Wisteria announces her arrival. Dead cows, endless, flank her garden's sides.

The dressage circle tempts her from it even before she has travelled the diameter of its path. It is the mythic quarter acre, the space allowed, yet she turns away from it as though tangled in some giant and needy bush.

Even Minus escaped from mathematics. With one peeping thought he became more complex than a man is given permission without devastating the eyes of mother, of father planting out the woods.

How does one choose between one garden and another? It is a thinly masked psychosis which says the cottage garden does not ramble at me all topsy turvy by any other design than my reason, my allowing a seed to choose its breeding place. It is her sex crisscrossed with memories from the time before she could kiss a full-sized rosebush.

She shakes herself at the forest, throws down seeds and cries over them till they manifest with signs of love. This place is something bought, yet over and again she must steal it. It is a nonsense fairy tale with a back bristling, monstrous, turned against the world. This is how they will find her, sitting here ossified one day. Then they will wonder that they did not see it, did not hear it, did not smell it, that Minus did not not taste in her the pointed hairs of one pushing herself, wording herself until she could only be known as something not close, but something already too far.

She haunts the first blossoms, shoves herself at them, these things that have no throat, chooses their fluffy hearts as her armor, then shakes herself not starward but towards where even now she can sense her own ending, towards the red, the yellow, hard cracked earth.

Boundary lines shout to her of failure, the impossibility of love. Their fences gripe at her blood, tell of beings made enemy, the careful here, the selfish there. Giant posts where veins should be, where hearts should reach, there is only the cold dark shimmer of hidden armor.

The trees blossom, a lemon scent, a yellow shaky flower. Her veins are rattled with love, yet the underside of these flowers show her the face of murder. Space loans her knives and weaponry of unbearable description. "Cherishing", she says "leads to dream of terror".

"I am startle" she says. " I am the rounded back with a show of arrows, a shyster in the field of anger. I am a great wet eye tonight gorging at the fence of my neighbour". A child is at these waters waiting for the wet of love. But instead there is black, and stars minute and insignificant as chocolate wrappers, compared to the dark that clutches at her. Her sickle hands waver in the grasses. Tell this breath to children and they will know it as the one who waits for father, the silhouette furry, licking at the mother.

She cannot know him, this blinking against the trees hiding her spite beneath words as careful as caresses.

If the walls break tonight and I say to you "one thousand" do not be caught, my love, between the letter and the word. For this is holy toil, here beneath your branches, here beneath the curving stair and the sundown of your lashes. You are wheelchair great to me, your knee bones a crush of anchors, and I will not wait out the night beside the unwarmed linen. I will tie it to the stars instead and forget the word 'inherit'.

"How do you tell belonging to the forests", she asks, when it is something even she, bred green to gold with capital, still cannot believe? The kangaroos lump the night as she treads through it, beckoning. It is a world of trees stretched to stars, so she too learns to use them as if magnets. In her space, folding, righteous, she turns herself tooth to nail.

When she turns from him, from he who is her neighbour, she is him as he appears to her, a hungry cripple without ears, no longer human, or more human than is bearable.






 "Minus Minus" © 2002 by Claine Helen Keily

 Original Graphic, "Flag of Discovery" © 2002 by Emmanuela Copal de León



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