Moment to moment


In the darkness, I can smell the fungus more clearly. I imagine they are feet, the feet of very old animals – old dogs, old chickens, old people, old fish, and there I stop. The feetless defeat me. The smell rises up once again in the chilly air. The smell of stale bread, of moldy hay, of paper in an old cigar box. The smell of bookstores, the smell of dirty ice. The smell compels me to stop, to cover my face, to breathe in the more familiar smell of myself. I wonder what I smell like to someone else. What do I smell like to the drawing man sitting across the duck pond at the groomed university? To the ducks, gliding and cursing, leaving green slime on the warm water? To the fat lady with the liver spots who will retire this year or next?

I smell like me, you smell like you, the rest of the world smells like strangers, or enemies, or memory, and that makes something happen on my face. The strangeness, the all-smell of memory makes my tear ducts react. My tear ducts, the ducks on the warm green pond, the regurgitation of rain from field to plain, from plain to highway; I am crying as heavily as the first tears ever cried. The evaporative cycle of hot and cold rises and I am speechless again.

The bones of youthful resilience bend and a light mist rolls in and away in the morning air. There is a rock nearby where tides approach and decline, approach and decline, and they tease one another in the fog. The open mouth of the rock is generous, waves slap and swallow, gulls call and clams do not call back. The gasping retreat pushes and pulls the heart, the heart that knows only the bivalve rhythm, the bivalve rhythm, self to other, night to day, small moments of air bursting, moment to moment to moment.

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