Blush of dogwood in ditches, steadfast colour of winter and early spring, and candle sumac, little flames going out as popcorn appears in the trees, the first unfurling, maple flower, bugs eager around the willow’s catkins, greens appearing at the market alongside last year’s tubers, arugula and young hakurei turnips, the chives long enough to pick from the garden, the opening of magnolia like clouds parting, walking underneath their blooms and slowing down and breathing in, and hyacinth, crouching for hyacinth, getting that purple into the lungs, and the rain this week the kind of rain that starts the greening, promotes the turn of seasons, a spring rain, they issued a warning about it, beware, it might rain wonderfully, you might be sodden, you might never want to come inside again, but I know what that fear is and that warning, where its home is, fear of flood, to be sure, fear of what we’ve done and what we’re doing, but also an assertion of presence, a warning from the authority, the way we respond to that in our bodies, I get it, but oh, it’s spring, it’s happening now, it’s beginning.
April pulls me away, and May returns me. I return to walking around and writing things down in May. Any little notebook, any scrap of paper. I don’t bother with line breaks, no time for it, and no mind for proper punctuation either when I’m trying to get it all down, I go until the page runs out and then I start again, I let the page assert its parameters, I don’t care. Making up for lost days in May. Relief at the returning.
Also in April a space was made for my aunt in a home nearby filled with people equipped to care for her, and I moved her in to cap off the month, and a two-year state of low-grade emergency, with periodic spurts of furious scrambling, was ended, with one last big scramble. I walked around the other day feeling light-headed, knees about to buckle, like I just got done a long stint of holding something very heavy. I didn’t expect to write about her, about caring for her, seeking care for her, here or at all. But I’ve been writing poems about her proceeding through life with dementia, and I’ve been pouring my guts out to everyone around me, needing to be frank about it, needing to say it.
Back when she was able to, she’d bar any conversation about what was happening to her. This, I learned later, was likely as aspect of the disease at work in her. But her tendency prior to that was always to keep quiet, and I get that, the places it comes from, its sources and reasons. There’s danger in speaking the truth.
I have to cleave to what Adrienne Rich wrote: “When a woman tells the truth she is creating the possibility for more truth around her.”
This to me is a writerly concern, the saying of what’s happening. There’s so much left off the page, and I want more and more there, insist on it. This is the goal for everything I write, and what I want to read the most too: to have a piece of writing hold as much of the world as it can.
And even as I write these words, I see plainly all that’s being left out. The push is to make the page fuller, sodden, sentences able to hold more. Never wanting back inside again.
In May the cloudburst, the outpouring. The seeds go in the ground. The punctuation of butterflies, the comma, the question mark—I saw one yesterday that I’ve never seen before, mostly orange, with a sparse arrangement of dark dots and a pair of light ones at the wings’ tips. Bumble bees also at the hyacinths, and sending in photos of my sightings. Listening for the Western chorus frog, which at first I didn’t hear, then April turned to May and now they’re really going.