Way Back Wednesday : Words : 1

by Cassie

July 10, 2011

Abandoning the beliefs we feel born into leaves empty spaces, phantom faith that itches in the middle of the night, when we’re at our smallest and most insignificant, just miserable motes of dancing dust under the enormous moon. Lying like a starfish in bed with the covers kicked off, I drift back and forth on remembered prayers, reluctant in my mouth but free-floating through the room, and think about how the more things change, the more they never stay the same, how they grow wings and fly and return to us in forms we barely recognize.

Flying down the highway at five miles over the speed limit, the music is loud and the window’s rolled down, and this is a place of worship; I offer up these wheels and these words that belong to someone else, that belong to everybody, and the air tastes like dust and my lips crack and burn, the heat is dull fire on my brow. My hair moves in the wind, whipping across my face, blinding me, and this is my Damascus, this is how I become an apostle.

The breath in his back against my breast is a hymn my skin sings, my heart opens up like a choir on Easter morning, a soaring soprano through my blood, a bass beating in my pulse. My pores speak in tongues, soaking up sweat our old fan never touches, trembling on the brink of revelations I never see coming, my fingers strong steeples that bend and break under the storm of his thigh beneath my palm, this is my church, this is how I am converted.

There’s dirt under my nails and dirt in the sink and I am washing dirt off the tomatoes, the cucumbers, the onions, and I am holding the earth in my hand, baptizing it under the water, rinsing off the beginnings of everything. The light from the window reflects off my knife, cutting through the red skin still warm from the sun and placing it on my tongue, and this is my communion, this is all the body and all the blood, the way it bursts in my mouth with a sweetness that tastes like tears, this is my sacrament, this is how I celebrate sacrifice.

My books are used, the pages torn, notes written in pencil in the parts somebody else thought were really important, and I learn about ischial spines and the sacrum, which sounds like another word for sacred, and moldable bones and the way the pelvis spreads, and it’s a creation story I can’t get enough of, the way our bodies bring forth babies, and there’s no fruit and no snakes and no flaming swords, there’s only mountains and volcanoes and tsunamis, strength so profound you can hardly stand to look it in the eye, and this is where my Eden lies, this is how I eat my apple and throw my fig leaves under my feet.

My eyes open before the sun does, and in the stillness of the morning, there are no sounds but the window unit and the fan and the faint bubbling of the fish tank, and I feel him curled around my back, a cathedral of bones that formed in my body. His toenails need trimming but he’s salvation sleeping on the same pillow as me, his fingers move in his dream, tapping out a rosary between my shoulders, and there’s nothing here but silence and a fierce love that folds over and over into itself, and this is where I find my faith, this is what I praise.