after Bernardino de Sahagún’s “Definitions of Earthly Things”

by Audrey Gidman



A mountain stream inside a breathing sack. A palm and some garnets.


For climbing mountains. For bedding grass. For being, upright. For being apart. For meditating; bedding dirt. For conversation with roots. For conversation. For dancing, dancing on wooden floors, dancing on pebbles, in water, not in water. For softness and for roughness. Dancing. For conversation through dancing. For bedding grass. For being where being has gotten to.


For prayer. For proving smallness. For proving smallness. To catch grace and place it in dirt, to touch dirt. To prove smallness. To kiss mountains with small mountains, with grace.


To have roots. To sizzle and burst. To sway. To be still. Mosaic of gravity and motion. Tower of being. To be. To crunch and glide. For gliding. For trusting and gliding and swimming and bending toward up. For bending toward up. For twisting and being. For being a tower. Leaning tower, high tower, vibrating tower, up, up. Tower of being; being up. Bone puzzle. Tree body. For being a tree.


For making. For holding. A claw foot tub. For wringing, for stringing, for work. For planting, for stories. Creases like leaf veins, like soft paper, like string. A claw foot tub. Like spiders, like mud. Cupping rain. To touch. To know. Little cups. To cup rain in little cups.


Dialect of touch, of coming close to. For speaking. For uncovering. For seeing, for taste. For laughter. Act and art of reason. Dialect of reason, of speech. Gateway. Genesis. An amethyst chair. Waves inside cut trees; seed code. Skin rhythm. Blood dancer. Dialect of the body.


Paper crane. Head stilt. River. To lift, to turn, to drift. Swan dive of the spine. Extension, swivel, stem. Up and around. To bend around, to glance up. To glance at stars, at canyons, at hands. Hinged tower. Small trunk. Punctuation of a river, of perhaps.


Locket of the body. To question, to direct, to conquer, to fall. The open and the close. The big and the minute. For questioning, for song, for silence. To be silent, to press together, to accept. Humble. Humble. Teachable. Sound. To move with. Locket of open and close, of gesture, of maybe.


Canal. Didgeridoo. Painted scale. To pull and push air. To puppet current. To pull in. A pyramid. To press into and against. To press essence. To catch; to hold. To press into and against essence.


Knots in the belly of a tree; in the canopy. Echo-catchers. Shells. Ceramic bowls. To clutch sound in ceramic bowls. Breakable bowls. Breakable shells. Mouths. Bent like hot rocks, curled leaves. Bent around. Clutching the tidal day.


Small, great fans; great, small fans; dust fans. For catching dust. Dust and joy and too much, too much. To catch the heaviness. To protect the soothsayers, the seeing sockets. To cradle dead skin taken flight, dead skin that dances, dust, dust, the dusty Earth. To catch the dusty Earth. The too much.


To be and to be and to be, in and out and always: fluttering. To flit and kiss light. To kiss light and sink into and accept. Fire and bone. To glow, for glowing, for growing. To be sung. Awake. Open. To be sung awake and open. To stay and go and both and know the difference and the same. Seeing in darkness. Being darkness, being fire. In and out and always. Being always. Being circles. Being trees. Fluttering like stars, like fish, like knowing. Being stars. To touch light. To echo. To sing and be sung.

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