Bio Note: I am the author of 4 books, the most recent being Narrow Bridge (Main Street Rag, 2019). I have also edited three anthologies, including The Plague Papers, available to read online at www.poemeleon.me/peruse-the-mall. My poems and reviews have appeared in many journals, anthologies, and lit-blogs.
The garbage reeks, full of leftovers and moldy lemons, mats of dryer lint, like a skin of algae on the surface of a pond. I ought to take the full bag out, but I’m reluctant to engage with the decay that’s at the heart of everything. And yet, if one could study it impartially, without a trace of terror or repulsion, the vivid shades of dissolution rival the desert after rain, spilled paint spreading to the far horizon. Even the odors hover on the edge of almost beautiful, as full as perfume’s ripe musk, purple as the jacaranda. It can even be delicious—at least to some. Consider the fragrant funk of some ripe cheeses, durian, or kimchi, thousand-year-old eggs, buried in the yard until the yolk marbles greenish black. Without rot, none of us could thrive. Everything that grows feeds on what went before, ocean reefs seeded by a wealth of putrid whalefall, ancient cities stacked one atop another, rising from the same foundation, fertile ground for everything to come.
I imagined that I sat triumphant as a warrior on a granite pedestal, mounted on a horse named Truth. Then the ground shifted. I saw the horse had just one eye, the pedestal perched on a cliff’s edge, a steep drop to the sea. I vowed to plant my feet on the hard earth, strewn with shards of shist, old arrowheads, but finally accepted that I’d have to stumble through the darkness, barefoot and half blind, though not alone, each one fated to help the others find the way.
©2021 Robbi Nester
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