It’s funny how poetry can be such a historical record at time. Yesterday, while eating lunch and staring out into what seems like another day in an endless time of rain, we were trying to remember when spring came last year. I knew I wrote a poem last year called May Day, for the first of May, but I had no idea what about. When I pulled it out, I was flooded by the memory of last year May first. I spent a good portion of last year very sick. There were times, honestly, when I really thought I was dying. Being very sick, there are days when I think you almost want to die. When your body is failing you and you are in pain, life seems to be something so distant and far away. You begin to ask yourself, “what’s the point?” I had to get used to some major changes in my body, which is something I’m no stranger to. I was tired and unsure if I wanted to go through that process. When I opened the poem for today, I was flooded with feelings. One year ago, it was one of the first really warm days of the year. I went for a walk in the woods by my house just before evening set. The sun felt so amazing on my skin, the world was so alive with noise that did not fade or quiet as the day sank into a warm night. I got home and wrote this poem at night. I remember everything about the afternoon. It was one of the first days I was able to challenge the idea that I wanted to be here. Even though I was in pain, there was just too much physical beauty I wasn’t ready to leave yet. In my life, the natural world has healed me time and time again. In this poem, I feel that. I remember being healed on some level that afternoon. Hopefully, we get some days like the one last year soon… Until then, it’s documented here for me.
In my most recent future, I am resurrected on the first of May. The first afternoon of the year that threatened a thunder storm has turned into a warm, humid night.My body has been kissed the way a flower opens. I’m driving home late at night, and I feel alive. Nothing is promised. Life still feels short but beatific, if nothing else. Underneath the stars, windows rolled down, I breathe air as old as the oceans. I have no one to survive for. Often, in the weeks of deep sickness, sweat drenched dreams teach me how to walk peacefully on shores, how to get naked and dive in, opportunities you lose in reality to sickness. Oceans grow bigger. I put more and more people I love into the earth. Destructive acts to the planet are now destructive acts to those I love, who’ve become part of the earth. This poem is not a lecture on how we should treat our one, only planet. I want to talk about bright things. Feelings that don’t care about what language they’re spoken in. The smell of fresh rain or the songs of tree frogs. I’ve love learning their dialects. The way my eyes said everything when they looked up into blue space. The sound of frogs emanating from the swamp, making a ruckus of noise assures me the world is not only listening but talking back. I want to talk about how joy is the southern girl who made me macaroni and cheese before she took me into the back room and taught me the meaning of my given name, reminding me my name involves bringing light. I am quite the drinker of sunlight. I don’t want to talk about my body’s constant way of making me too ill to metabolize all the sun I drink. I don’t want to think about the scratchy feeling of hospital bracelets on the wrist, the sun pouring through the window, and feeling too weak to want it. It’s like having the most arousing figure before you and your dick decides to go limp. We all know how frustrating it can be to horny and too weak to orgasm. We all have been one of two lilies spread across the water, wanting to touch the other, when the only choice is to allow yourself the joy of admiration. Many birds wish for the song or color of the Cardinal and forget to just enjoy the Cardinal’s glorious hue of red. I feel shame for the months I was not able to watch the reflection of stars on a slow lake at night. There is no reason my bench by the pond has been empty. I lost my way to the church of the natural and wandered into my body, which is holy for no reason beyond itself. I drive slow and steadfast. I want to feel time draining through the clock, as the moonlight sifts through the night. I want to stay here, in love with all that is natural. The frog’s lullabies and the still air whispering together listen closely and we might be able to make you well. If there is no such miracle, I am alive right now, chasing down pansies, peonies, and ponds that remind me to be still. Show up dressed in black and blend in with the night. Let nature dance before these eyes until my feet are strong enough to jitterbug with our always dancing world.