The Face in the Tree By Helen Ganiy

March 31, 2016 Comments Off on The Face in the Tree By Helen Ganiy

I finger the thin meal of his presence, which holds the weight and influence of a key tied flintily to the rafters. Even now, his dusky footprints leave a hue, a drag of smoke, as though the physical atmosphere of his wounds is still pungating here. Late robins crack apart the window frame and he yellow-eyes the tallgrass, the shapeless autos. Each of the robins has a seed in its mouth, which they knock on the powdery sidings where he stands, reaching marrow-dark arms deep inside a coat that swings, web-like, with a kick of the heel or a turn of the torso. Now a woman passes through the field. She holds her shoulders in two reedy hands, flip-booking through the chancy grass that is high, low, the weed sap wetting her ankles. I am standing, always, in the darker corner of the barrel room, back from the deep reaching sun bars that come down hard on a rat scat and cinder floor. I reach for the things in my pocket and there is an emptiness that is not real, a sensation of having plunged my hand beneath a cold seabed. The woman splits down to a blot of color, then a beat of movement, then nothing. The field stands empty.

His chin is down against his chest now and I think there is more here than the feeling of he and I having missed something. The rocks I throw and the flowers I squelch all rush over my fingers and it is, as always, the sand at the bottom of the sea, the feather at the bottom of the pond, a coldness that seeps and is wet. There is little left for me to touch, yet I find the rusty blade and I see him, by the window, flinching. This is something he knows, he remembers. He searches the field for another passerby, but a diffused sun is sinking, a breathy gray settles, and the barrel room is dark. A thread runs between us and we do not need fire or food or a hand, and so, we observe the astronomical passage of time at separate ends of an enormous room. Yet he is throbbing while I disintegrate. His spirit undulates as mine recedes. His purples and cedars are sediment that coats the hand and chokes the air. This room is his, and I stay.

Yet our sigh is collective, a shaking of wings and cracking of beams, a bark, a shuffle. Sidling up against the domed waking world, we are the curiosity in a bird’s eye, the face in the tree. We are a mere warble beneath the mild roll of petals through the field.

© 2015 Helen Ganiy

Helen Ganiy lives in Santa Rosa, CA, and is a graduate of Sonoma State University. She has completed work on her first novel, Women in the Down, and has been selected to serve as assistant editor on Fearless Books upcoming poetry anthology titled Turning the Page. Her work has been featured in Crack the Spine magazine.

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