To your right is a woman behind a counter at a diner. She had her hair pulled up because it rained last night and today and she decided not to wash it until the sky turned dry again. She has an accent from Greece and her waist smells like grease from the hug she received from the man who delivers food to the upper west siders on his bicycle. A two-piece suited man arrives with briefcase and anger. I want to complain to the manager but let me tell it to you because I don’t want to be here any longer than I have to so here it is: I ordered a turkey sandwich and there was very little cranberry sauce I asked for cranberry sauce and the fries were too fried and too much was missing to call it a meal. I don’t know how you remain in business. And when he left, the woman’s polite smile turned into a squiggle like a scratched out word and this is when she meets your eye because your were
staring observing and your smiles lit each other on fire.
The fire is like a wheel– all orangey red like the best kind of grapefruit– and it transports you to a church. You wipe off the soot and smell of campfire-burnt-flesh but it’s okay because you have enough skin to lose some sometimes. In this church are a mix of genders and the ones in between without a slot on applications or birth certificates and you notice the one wearing animal skin on his head like a hunter and around his shoulders and against his thighs. And this hunter is kind and believes in gun control but his friend wears a placard that says only cannibals eat animals so this hunter stays on the other side of the room where photographs are permitted. Later on, Hunter walks up to where the candles are lit and reads a poem about not wanting to be here but having to be here because sometimes you have to be somewhere to understand how you got there (breathe). And he drinks from a paper bag and then turns it upside down because maybe the floor felt thirst and how nice to consider the wood sometimes.
The wood has no teeth, but if it did it would stretch out its knots to reveal its gratitude. Wood can be anti-social sometimes and pull away from other wood but when it is shellacked in gratitude, it can notice the beauty in other forms like bench or porch or swing or staircase. You are crying because this is a memorial service and you haven’t attended enough of these to have control of your tears and one hits the wood and this is when the magic happens. Your salt twists into the fibrous planks and suddenly the scent of earth is so potent that the Hunter stops speaking and everyone turns around to look at you. Your tears are contagious. Their eyes grow soggy too and the wood is now drenched and pulling away from itself and the earth is visible in a way it never has been before. It is honest and imperfect because holes equal imperfection, right? Holes equate to something missing or maybe or maybe or maybe it means wholeness because in this moment everyone noticed each other and words swirled up over heads like a linguistic tornado and how beautiful and how beautiful. And this is meaning.