Tidal Basin

Germination Detail Part III, by Leslie Shellow

contemplations about what stays in the net

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Wings and Dust

I've always been shy. In eighth grade, I fell in love with Katherine Hepburn and decided then and there I would be as brave and outgoing as she was. I changed overnight from a snail in a shell to a butterfly, even though they're unrelated. It's slippery having wings. We all know that if you touch a butterfly's wings, it may never fly again. And what of that? When you become colorful, the wings are hard to resist. And so I did, and so was touched, and had a hard time flying again for many years.

I am awake inside words. They are my dialogue with you. You are the many pieces of myself I've left scattered on the timeline of my life. I toss off the clothes that no longer fit which has rendered me naked more often than not.

And instead of picking up the pieces and trying to make them fit again, I keep moving forward while still looking back. I don't think butterflies know how their beauty is made of dust and scales.

And today what I want to tell you, Reader, is that I lost someone I love very much. I loved him so much I tried to write a book about him. I loved him so much I had to stop. I must walk backwards on my timeline and pick up the clothing I let fall from my hands. I must try it on again and remember. I am scared about what this process means. I've just recently emerged from a dark and lusty place full of demons and hidden gems. I am afraid to go back there.

So, I shock myself into writing. I will tell you this: he was found by his son who walked into his room on a Tuesday and seeing that he was sleeping, turned around and left, not knowing he was already dead. On Wednesday, he did not pick up the phone when people called. On Thursday, his son returned and he (my lover, my friend, my soul mate, my guide, my impossible love-who-drown-himself in sorrow and rum, the love who I left behind) had turned black and was ten times his normal size. His skin peeled off his body like it could no longer contain the whole of him, exiting as he did to some better place. His flesh smelled of rotting animal and his eyes were closed. He died in his sleep from an attack of his heart. I must say all of this. This is where I need to start because the rest is too painful.

His son, all twenty two years of filial love, must have felt oh something so terribly like guilt for not having known; but how could he have? His father was often asleep when he entered that room. We all know he did the right thing -- the kind and respectful thing -- and let his father sleep. But the boy...the boy. I pray for the right salve that will ease the shock. I pray he will release the guilt and feel only loss, but we know that may be impossible.

I speak of his son and I speak of myself.

I love you, Jose Raul Garcia Sagaro, like a thousand airborne butterflies who will never lose their dust.

Forgive me still for losing some of mine.

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