Crack the Spine - Issue 84

Page 9

Daryl Farmer Flora I. The flowers are orange. I break one from its stem, and pull apart petals. Mom says if I look at the clouds I will see animals. I take the center and put it in my mouth. I sort of see rabbit but long for giraffe. The flower tastes like tomato, but bitter. The clouds cover the sun. The world gets darker. Night time? I ask. No, she says. The clouds have darkened the sky. My brother and sisters are at school. Later that evening it darkens again. Clouds? I ask. No. It is dusk, she says and I learn: there are different types of darkness in this world. II. In the cabin my mother plays cards. It is fall. The aspen leaves are yellow. I walk to the bottom of the hill. I slip through an old barbed wire fence, hike along a creek bed. There is bedrock, smooth, a jutting outcrop. I sit on the rock, lie back. The floating clouds make me feel as if it is I that is moving. A pleasant disorientation. A dragonfly buzzes me, then moves away. If you are thirsty, there is water inside of cactus. This I have been told by my sisters. When I see the small cactus, I rise, take a stick and poke it open. Inside, it is pink. I tear off a piece and taste it. It is wet, liquid, but not enough to quench me. A stellars jay lands on a pine branch, eyes me, and then flies away. III. College. In the sand dunes I walk with a woman I think I might love. We talk about our lives, our disparate dreams; we bury each other in the sand, take photos. Always there are photos—I give them away, photos of sunsets, city lights, deer in the forest. She has one of my photos tacked to the bulletin board in her dorm room, a full moon rising over Mt. Blanca. I want to believe that she looks at the photo each night and thinks of me. The sand gets in our clothes, our shoes. Mount Sevin stands above us looking down. We can hear voices in the distance. Still, in these dunes, we feel secluded, alone. In the wind, long stemmed yellow flowers dance and make designs in the sand. Floating clouds cover the sun. Eventually, the shade will fade to night. We lie in silence, wait for the sand to cool us, wait for the dark to fall.