Outliving the Lyric Moment
Angel and muse escape with violin and compass; the duende wounds. —Federico García Lorca I didn't expect to escape. I've stepped out of planes into Madrid and Bangkok, Prague and Seoul, each time a solo in a world that was, if not cruel, supremely indifferent to the fact of my breath. I loved where I could, did not imagine my mouth without light, fish at home in my bluest wells. I went in a stalk of pure wanting that knows there's no getting, and collected tiny lemons of joy when they ripened in reach of a window in Vence where I happened also on tangles of grapes fallen and trodden on the road to the sea. I plucked green stones from Spanish sand, wore the white hibiscus for a day behind my ear where it softened with rot in a pattern of etch. In Andalusia the wine is new and ruby, breath and aroma the tools of being in places where days are paid out like so many queens on obsolete coins. Now, not suddenly, but after long balance of what there is against what might or might never be, the never-was has dared to love me back. So it was death all along who stood in the ferry with his dirty blonde hair and bright nylon pack, but I never imagined he'd be so young as he slung the pack, leapt to the shore and never looked back for me. That's why my flesh loves me today. There are salt and heat and a body of bread, new if not endless, and a rumor if not news of the future. It dies as it lived, the idea of duende, a proximity, a song we don't necessarily need in a land of snow and icy green lakes where the weather's a tomb and the lover's strong thigh is white and marvelous as marble, a throne on which I suppose I could sit and grow handsomely old.
Copyright © 2007 by Leslie Adrienne Miller. Reprinted from The Resurrection Trade with the permission of Graywolf Press, Saint Paul, Minnesota.