“The days aren’t discarded or collected, they are bees
that burned with sweetness or maddened
the sting….” ~ Pablo Neruda
Sunlight stretches a braided rope across the yard from which strands fall, every shred made useful over time. The sky’s tarp sags slightly in the middle. Somewhere inside the kitchen, a radio dial is turned and the noise of its scratchy seeking makes a brief aluminum corona in the air. The heated flagstones smell almost like coffee, but the woman hanging laundry on the line doesn’t have time. She would like to linger— even the rivulets of water wrung out of shirts and trousers have their small luxury: they follow lines that snake across the paving; they digress, branch out, before evaporating. Did you know even the merest gash of water on the nape, on the insides of the elbows and the knees, is enough to cool the body on the hottest day? Even extravagance can be meted out, tempered. And later in the evening, when the body gives itself permission to sink at last into a pool of water, sometimes what comes flooding back is both painful and sweet beyond measure.