Fraught with worry, a mostly warm day turns in on itself and licks our wounds. The evening sky is big, gracious, full of smoky dark shapes mingling with the blue. A wet night, but only in the air, only in the caresses of each baby breeze. I would light a cigarette, but the fumes will taint the smell of this grass and the dew clinging to it. I light it anyway, watch a slim smoke spiral its way above my head, exhale deeply to empty my tarnishing lungs. As I do, my torso seems to cave in and I feel a contradictory cleansing sensation, as if purifying my body with ritual smoke instead of a Lucky Strike, as close to immolation as I am comfortable with in this moment.
I wish for someone to share this with, this long minute of silent gratitude, but instead I watch the slow, cool bloom of night flowers and listen to the insect orchestra. The moment is a lone one anyway; the peace I’m finding right now could very well be someone’s profound boredom. The sky’s a mirror; it’s closer than I ever thought it could be; I trace words that mean nothing, everything, into its velvety face. Orion winks back.
If I had a son, I would name him Orion: an ancient hunter’s name, proud, from a time when hunting was survival and not blood sport; a precise measure of a man. Lazy summers with Orion were enough for Artemis, and though he suffered a hero’s fate, I would keep my son as companion, show him how to stretch his limbs as far as he can – there he’ll reach me, in that dark space between fingers and air.
So I mused. My daughter is named after a flower, and a delicate one. But she’s stronger than that, I knew the second she fought her way free. She’s strong and pure, but the part of her that I can’t get over is the crystal-warm joy she feels. Her aura is yellow-gold, not Violet. There’s a magnet in my chest drawn to her tiny one. I don’t love her darkly like Neruda, it’s bright and clean, with no corners or shadows.