of beginnings

December 15, 2017
By , South Riding, VA

there is no beginning to this story.

instead, there is a little girl
sitting on a flower-print couch
reading a book.

in this book,
there is a beginning and a middle and an end
but in the logical progression of things
she loses her place in the world and instead,
instead,
she finds her place in the words.

these words find their place on her shoulder,
brushed up against the crook of her neck,
all rough and trembling at the edges
but filled to the brim of
their ink-black, sharp-backed ridges
with sweet,
sweet,
nothings.

but you see,
the girl is still too young and still too gentle
to prick her fingers on the nettles of creation,

so the words simply
rest on her shoulder
and curl in her hair,
cooing: patience, patience.

she has no choice, then,
but to wait,
breath lingering over flashes of inspiration
mouth forming around curves of phrases
that she tucks,
for safekeeping,
in the back pockets
of her mind.


in the meantime,
she continues to read the books with
a beginning
and a middle
and an end
and everything else in between.

 

there is no beginning to this story.

there is no beginning because the soul grows
from naught but a crackling spark of life,

life and love,
climbing the ladder of becoming
step by trembling step.

 

there is no beginning because the soul builds cities from the rubble of past wars,
palaces over the tight skin of closed scars,
painstakingly,
heartbreakingly,

eventually,
eventually giving way
to the gentle beat of your heart.

for the heart is, after all, where everything begins--

begins,

and ends,

where everything pumps in cyclic motion,
a tapestry of in-out-in-out,
your chest burning, your throat closing,
your mind plummeting through the folds of souls
wrapped around the split nail
of your pinkie finger--

 

there is no beginning to this story.

!the girl extends a curious hand
toward the words bleeding
midnight black over her shoulders.

they slip down her bare arm
and gather at the tip of her pencil
like a pool of mud,
of sludge.

but even the ideas
they murmur into the nest of her consciousness
are heavy with the burden
of straining to be everything,
all at once.

 

everything, because she has collected so many words over so many years,
stuffed them to bursting in
the lining of her pockets,
the hollows of her sleeves,
the dips of her collar,
and the shallows of her eves.

everything, because
with words she hoards
!she spins threads of stories,
gathering purple-black silk that
slide over her thighs
and pile at her feet,
into ink-sparked,
pencil-marked hands
in a futile attempt to make something out of nothing.

everything, because, after all,
to encompass everything is to place herself
right in the crater of existence,
tracing the jagged edges with
the soles of her little feet
and combing the fine dust
with her little fingers

and setting her little shoulders
against the breadth of the sky
as if they could hold
the weight of the world,
like atlas standing
at the edge
of the earth.

 

it seems that there is not enough room for everything
on the canvas of her heart.

 

there is no beginning to this story.

but you see - there does not need to be a beginning to this story.
for what is a beginning other than a !plaque to dust off and say:
here is where i came from,
but where i came from is not important because
here–here is where i will go?


what is a beginning but a means to an end,
a dream to be bent,
a scheme to be rendered completely,
exquisitely,
absolutely
unrecognizable?

 

here, then, is the beginning to this story:

there is a girl sitting on a flower print couch reading a book.

in this book there is no beginning, no middle, no end.
in this book there is nothing between
the lily-white pages of a dizzy-bright cage,
sleek and open and ripe for the taking.

when the girl opens her empty book,
she pauses,
considering the way the smooth,
cream paper
slides underneath her fingertips.

the words no longer drip puddles
around the pin-sharp point of her pencil,
no longer whisper promises of eternity in her ears,
no longer stain her skin with
the skeletons of things she’ll never be.

in big, swooping letters, she writes:


THERE IS NO BEGINNING TO THIS STORY






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