I sit beneath the hanging flowerpot. Let it drain over my head, losing tiny white stones and soil.
Slowly, the ends of my hair curl and begin to bloom, sea-anemone green. Dahlias opening outward from the split ends. This is what they call wellness.
Day and night, cross-legged on the wooden porch, I meet the dusk creatures who slink down from the awning. My eyes move at half speed to take it all in. Retinas glazed in honey. Now the sun’s movement behind clouds reads like a foggy beacon.
In fact, I’m so well I’ve become one with the earth, arms growing over with spring-turf moss and caterpillars that never cocoon.
Why hadn’t I become a porch plant sooner? People send letters asking for my secrets. I decide to bottle the plant-water and sell it to other sick women. Burlap bows and a Stick-It-On label.
My splitting hair levitates like natural hairspray and foundation is always set. Dewdrops bulge off my skin overnight, budding by morning.
Some of the sick women join me on the porch, where we curve our bodies in sun aerobics. Teeth turn yellow from mouths gaping open, so I can’t eat anything but light and maybe a low hanging cloud.
Now every homeopathic store in the country carries my water.
Truly, I’ve never been so happy as when I became a porch plant. I can blink and a whole day goes by.
Carry your cello on your back like a shell. Hike to the top of a mountain, where you find a single Ginkgo tree, its branches lined by blackbirds.
Loosen each string until it slackens, falls to the soil as overlapping worms.
Name each string after someone you’ve extracted from your life in the name of art.
Name the four mahogany tuning pegs after songs you have forgotten.
Lie the instrument on its side, resting your back against its back.
* * *
In the morning, comb the crickets from your hair. Bury their thin green legs among the strings and bird beaks.
Then carry your silence home.
From My Grandmother’s Porch Swing
Every woman I’ve known has a rhythm:
not the dishes against the farm-sink, not the whisk
through thick-whip tapioca. Though sometimes
I inherit that. A bleating, spot-bellied goat
guts a night-tremor. Husked blood
clots caught in its throat but still sings.
We sing. Like so many strange bugs here,
bronzed beetles, honey locusts—a quiet girl’s music.
My grandmother’s ritual, some prehistory
that warbles thawed pine nettles. My grandmother,
her distant life, something I claim my own and locket.
On the wrap-around porch, she drinks
peach tea, flicks mosquitos with jade rings.
They home her warmth. This mottled blood,
instead of pooling, it stings. Pops and puddles
white gravy in the spinner crock.
The sound of something unafraid to burst, that’s it.
The rhythm of wilderness rewilding itself, that’s it.