Embroidered Thoughts

Sometime after I graduated college, my Popo was trying to throw out a large, pink sheet. Upon it depicted a traditional Chinese dragon and phoenix. The dragon had bright orange scales and red spikes trailing along its curving body. The phoenix’s head and torso were a dark forest green, but its wings and tail feathers were brilliantly colored so that no feather looked the same. Both beings were enshrouded by wisps of many-colored clouds that made it appear as if they were actually approaching one another: the phoenix ascending from below, the dragon descending from above. The colors of these mystical creatures was emphasized by the soft pink satin that this scene it had been embroidered into.

My aunt, enamored by the image, wanted to keep it, for she said that it could be used for some craft and would be a waste to toss out such a fine piece. My Popo didn’t mind the proposition, but thought it appropriate to let her know that the image depicted a dragon in love with a phoenix, right before both creatures were about to make love to one another.

To my aunt, it didn’t sound believable, and she dismissed this tale, telling it to me when I saw her a week later.

At first, I too could not believe that copulation was the message. Myths and legends aside, these were two different creatures: how could they procreate, much less make love to each other? I’m not trying to be crude, but it’s impossible for me to imagine. Yet, the more I ponder this sheet’s story, (the sheet is now the cover for a large body pillow in my room), the more I understand why it never needed to make sense in the literal sense. No longer do I see bird or reptile, but lovers captivated with passion for the other. After all, is it not beautiful that these two rarities, both uniquely different, find equal standing in their shared love for their kingdom, the sky? Or perhaps I have put words into this image’s mouth —like my aunt and Popo— when I should let it speak for itself? Is it my job as the writer to give it a story and meaning, or simply to write how it is beautiful meaning nothing at all?

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Dear So & So

Dear So & So,

It’s been 5 years— I wonder if you’d recognize me; this face, this countenance, the expressions I make.

Would I recognize you? If I did, it wouldn’t surprise me. To remember your smirk, your reserved mannerisms earnestly reaching towards me, the way that your eyes would crinkle upwards as you gave a genuine laugh— would I?

Are you still the same? Cause what I don’t remember is the sound of my name on your lips, articulated by your tongue and echoed through your diaphragm. I don’t remember the sound of your laugh whether it was light and happy or if it was given nervously, timidly as if you were scared that someone would take it and force it back into your mouth and swallow down the reason why you ever dared to open up.

I also don’t remember the look that your eyes had. What I like to think is that they looked lost.I believe that they did— no. I know that they did. That the way your eyes looked out into the world was as if they desired, longed, wished, wanted, lusted— that all their owner ever wanted, needed was someone to ease their loneliness. I think, I think that they looked at me that way. They told me that it was me. I thought that it was me.

Yet, 5 years have told me otherwise. The way that my phone doesn’t ring, the way that a message with your face doesn’t appear, the way that my email inbox doesn’t have your name attached to it: they all tell me it wasn’t me. Right now, I finally realize, I finally know that it wasn’t me.

So if I saw you at a glance, would I recognize you? Yes, I would, but I’ll pretend that I didn’t.

Wishing you the best, even though I do not know what that means anymore.

Sincerely,

Saying that I don’t care

The Charm

Silver and small

The way that light hits each link

Makes it appear

Like a lobster’s claw.

Attached,

Somehow,

Is a behemoth.

It stands.

Four legs.

A trunk.

A tail.

Its ears;

Perfectly large-

Trunk so happily lifted high,

It could shower water at any time.

The links it grasps-

A pair of hearts.

You can feel the love coming from them-

They link together.

Dear life they represent;

Small,

But they mean

So much

To the one

That holds them.

They are smooth.

They are harsh.

Love,

Is not

A

Smooth ride.