You can’t fool me. The sky is a bowl above me, the earth dry and broken. I sense the world on fingertips, eyes closed, the wind around my index. I touch the sides–I feel them. You can’t tell me the rain has disappeared. It’s outside this globe of sun.
I used to live outside, where the rain beat without end. I used to live at the edge of the sea, where grey water surged and white-edged waves cut into bare skin and rain shot stinging sand against fleeting foot. I lived there, where men dug in and fell under the weight of rain and couldn’t prevent the vines from easing through their open mouths, any more than they could prevent the rain.
They gave this inside place a name, as if that would help: New Mexico, Land of Enchantment. And for many years, we were enchanted–or at least, I was. I gave up my senses to it and felt the heat and heard the cicadas whine at midday, the exact pitch of heat. And I explored the meaning of light that entered through the retinas and penetrated the mind. With the excess of luminosity, the neurotransmitters produced an abundance of serotonin, and my gut moved, and my memory improved. I could remember the names this place threw at me. I could remember more than I wanted to.
I recalled the rain, and I cut off access of sun to my senses, except to my fingertips, where I felt for the truth. The wind obscured the effect. But it was there. I was–am trapped in a sun globe, and I can’t see a way out. Such a dry truth is difficult to swallow.
Some say we’re fish trapped in a bowl of water, floating without reason and staring at the waving photons that break the surface. We, the fish, see the photons as stars–but when I say we, I don’t include myself in that number. I see one star–the sun of this globe called New Mexico. And it’s as dry as shriveled cholla arms in here. The photons light the dust, and the dust waves around us, and the senses call it water, but the senses are often wrong, and this desert is dry.
I’m an alien. I’m a fish gasping in a place without water, and I’m pretending it isn’t so. I’m pretending because I can name things, as I’ve said. I can remember the names that call this place home: family, husband, children, degree, summa cum laude. With highest praise, I call them.
You can’t fool me. I’ve seen it, or I’ve read it in a book, but it’s all true. In that place, the globes were broken. The globes of sanctuary that captured the sun–the rain smashed them. And the rain will smash this one and prove that I’m an alien in this place, and that I belong to the rain.
And then I remember something so primal that it frightens me. I was an alien in that outside world, as well. That was a place with a name, too–Oregon–a place with big ears to detect the sound of rain versus sea, and to detect the sound of outsiders in their midst. And I was that. And so I suspect I don’t belong to the rain, either.
I don’t want to be trapped any longer. But I need a place to call home. Do I have to float, belly up on the air, in order to go home? Do I?
I call this love, that faith because those are the only names that matter any longer. I call this globe home. But I’m no fool. I know what this isn’t.
I may be stupid, but neither am I clever.