This summer I am looking ever more like my mother once did. My hair flowing halfway down my back as I walk the streets of our neighborhood past old Victorian houses, warehouses, under the overpass, just past a Starbucks, and into an urban garden.
Through my earphones I hear the ephemeral music and it mixes with suburban sounds of cars, wind rustling through trees, someone working in a backyard, a dog’s bark, so that I hear it all as one song at once.
I am the happiest I’ve been all year.
In the gardens along the bank of the old Guadalupe, along which the first settlement here was raised… and along which now, a freeway passes and airplanes coming from places both international and domestic trace lines above it like metal ships on a great skyriver… In these gardens I stop to watch a cat stalk its prey. I stalk it, standing behind it, watching. As I do this, I wonder what is watching me behind my back, or from above…
It reminds me of the idea I heard once that humans are here to bring consciousness to the universe, to acknowledge it and bring our attention to it. As when a tree in a forest falls… then its sound, like a young woman watching a cat stalk its—
I wonder, then, about what a poem like this must do. I remember that when my grandmother was on her deathbed, I read one aloud to her; it went, “Suddenly, I realized that if I stepped outside my body I would break into blossom.”
As I leave the garden, I consider how much I am looking like my mother once did—however lovely and inconsequential…
And how, on and on, it will go like this… like little nesting dolls of consciousness; the present subsuming the past, the present subsuming the present, looking on always with some reverence and a laugh.