I Don't Speak Flower

Sunday, January 15, 2023

There have been times—
            not so many—but               a 
                              when I told my therapist

                                             I have not words 
left to pray. 
               Christ, have mercy, he said. 
                                             That’s left.

The man across the river fireworks
the slim, chilled night air with sparks
from his welding machine.                                               

He is standing, in front of a vertical light hooked from a tree, a urine-yellow shop light.

He’s wearing a neon green t-shirt,
                                    (like the parking guys wear at megachurches’ mega-parkinglots)
                                    (like my son in recovery right now) (he parked cars last night
                                     because doing service is part of recovery)
Sparks spew at an angle—veer, angle, arc, angle,
            then up to the night sky

I see you
o nearer 
my sky 

Sparks fountain like the fountain of Trevi.
               We dangled our fingertips there on our honeymoon, and
               I remember already seeing,
                        in the pale sulfur lightning on Charybdis-froth water
already knowing my husband had stopped seeing        me
that he would spurt us back up in pieces, my mast, my bones, a shard of rib,
and I would put it all back together and sail off on a tongue depressor

I see you 
o nearer 
my sky 

The Adderall is wearing off—
               three hours until Seroquel.
O, the time Wellbutrin has spent padding around my brain,
                              wearing smiley-face slippers, leaves me less than convinced
                              it’s actually doing anything.
And the Lexapro, it’s just a kitten jabbing a white-tipped paw
under the bathroom door. Pretty play

What I am getting around to is this.
or have there been many times?
I could not pray—
when I woke up, and a kerosene-brined sock
stuffed down my throat made the gutpeals pale 
           to hoarse howls. . . .

               Sometimes, now? 
Christ, have mercy.

Is it a sin I like the colors? That sweet, blue sky Klonopin,
           the pale nectarine of Lexapro. 
                                             Hydrocodone cloud-white,
                                 and, O the 
                                                        sea of Xanax aquamarine. 
Christ have mercy. 

The man across the river stands straight beneath the light.
The light caps him with a pope hat, like a diamond miter.            

            And the fire looks like fire coming from his loins. 

All around me is angelic and super 
natural. Is anything real? The log floating downriver,
                      debris creaking from bank to current, current to bank,
                       the welder, the front-end loader, the hydraulic lift, the dump truck is all of this holy-ness real? 
Christ, have                                                                                            mercy


It’s just that I can’t even write it down, the moments when I could not say the four syllables, the three words, ______________, ___________ ____________.
When my son’s friend                  was missing but really dead, when my son’s friend                 went down to Parchman but got shivved five days later, when I text my son                      , Are you okay?

when what I really mean is, 
                                                       am I

I’m trying so hard and can’t say pray. My new therapist said,
when you wake in the night / terror tipping the moon on a sliding scale through the windowsill /and still overthink it / not over it but through it / / and really I’m whittling down the night
sky around the deck outside where no noise pollution                         no light pollution         is
and the night sky is black
I can’t see the moon                                                                                                                 

The moon is a round white pill called Ambien.
Christ, have mercy.

I see nothing in the night sky, the dizzy night air / or
I see an explosion in the night air—
whichever you want it to be

Is it real when it looks like an explosion a whole sky filled with a fountain of fireworks you see none of that but ruminate what’s happening to your son he is kneeling before a group of men they are circled around him in prison
           and she says, the new therapist says, That is not happening right now. Say to yourself, “That is not happening right now.” 
Christ, have mercy, 
what if it is

And Christ, have mercy last night when his voice sounded more drawled and more drawn, slower,
less effortless
           His words, as if he had to pause and choose
a little each word to make sure it was right and green the grain of his suffering,
justify why that night he might have 
Everyone slips—but 
           not him. He can’t. Not even once. Not again. 

O child 
If you do, I have to move away from you,                                                          I . . .  
My son, I can’t be with you, I                                                                                       am 
on this journey you are taking 
I don’t know if you did it—took anything
That is not 
                       no                                                                                                        never 
Christ, have mercy 
not happening right now.                                                                                            okay 
Christ around me Christ before me 
Christ in the river clouds
Christ in the river detritus
Christ in the river fountain
of gold-green welder’s sparks
in the lava glow
           the glacier moon glow  

Christ in mosquito creek
Christ in the river-clog
Christ in the dead things Christ in the living
in the sog in the green 

           sails of flat-leaved lilies in their yellow, tight-coiled buds rehearsing spring
They don’t know, and I can’t tell them
I don’t speak flower
I don’t speak language
I don’t speak anything 


I can’t warn them the first freeze is slipping
                      in sideways                               cooling the water
even now
           They’ll never make it 
                                   They weren’t meant to 
           It only feels like spring 
                      It only felt like spring
                                                       again for 
                                                                  a few days 

Sometimes, I don’t have _________ left to offer

           O river
           O black-fingered night sky
           You must be enough 
                                            have mercy 

Sunday, January 15, 2023