“If you go slowly enough, six or seven months is an eternity—if you let it be—if you forget old things, and learn new ones. Even a week can last forever.”
Rick Bass, Winter

"In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer."
Albert Camus

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Part II: Day 29: A Trillium Walk, a Tribute to Alfred J. Prufrock

"Zoe's Spring Love Song to Cooper J. Prufrock"

Let us go then, you and I
While the last afternoon light is laid out across the sky
like some dumb human in a gold cape waking up on a pool table
Across half-deserted halls of moss and muck
the year's commencement of our favorite sylvan retreats
Let us go and make our visit
of breathless walks on multi-hour sniff-and-tells
and wooded snacks with dead rodent shells
paths that circle and wind like a joyous proclamation
of unguarded intent
to lead you to an overwhelming question
Oh, do not ask, "What is it?"
The trillium have arrived.
 Let us go and make our visit.

Through these woods the women come and go
Talking of books, allergen-free dog treats, and wildflowers blooming through late snow.

For I have known them already, known them all:
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured my life with syringes of bitter herbs,
Cooper is waiting
viscous cures on coffee spoons,
chemo needles and freeze-dried liver treats
I know the music of collies and retrievers biding time in a farther room.
So how should I presume?

For I have known the paws of countless dogs, known them all
paws webbed and white and black and brown
(But under dusk clouds of ticks, fur damp with Frontline)
Is it perfume from a dead doe
that makes me so digress?
Dead things with tails, in grass and my teeth
entrance to the woods
And should I then presume?
And how should I begin?

Through these woods the women come and go
Talking of books, allergen-free dog treats, and wildflowers blooming through late snow.

I should have been a pair of silken elk
Prancing across the forest floor with ease

I grow bold . . . I grow bold
I shall twist this new harness when we swim and roll

Zoe finds something dead and tasty on the first leg of the trail
Shall I wet my fur only behind?  Do I dare to eat a leech?
I shall blacken white sock paws, herd you from the muck-rich beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

They always sing to me.

I have seen them riding across the Grass River in waves
beside spring fishermen and spring-drunk students
fevered and frantic
combing the backs of waves
when the wind blows the water white and black.

We have lingered inside houses for too much of this day
Listened to too many human voices,
Now they call to us, and to each other
show us more wildflowers and moss
But we chase each other instead, and sing to the smells
Zoe stops to chomp her find
we eat and wear, bone-white and green and brown.
And the river calls to us once more.

But we never drown.

Cooper, do you hear something?  I think I see a golden retriever!
Zoe chases Maya into the woods
A lot of things smell pretty good around here
Go where I tell you, minions!
The women make a fuss over these wildflowers. 
We smell them, okay?
Just after the dip
Shake it, baby!
The humans used to call this place Swamplandia in the spring, before they built a walkway and Karen Russell wrote a novel by that name.
Zoe is always told she can rest at this little shelter if she needs to, but she never wants to
Are you coming, humans?
The first time Zoe's two persons walked under this power tower during the early days of their courtship, their clasped fingers felt a shock, and it wasn't just the electricity of new love
You know you have left the wildflowers and fields when you're back in civilization, and Emmett, the shortstop, greets you like you've been on a long journey.  He wants someone to pitch a ball, but the dogs are short now on game after walking for 90 minutes through new wildflowers, swimming, and chasing each other.

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