Plant. Be hopeful. Plan.
Except plants must take root. Take root in soil.
Soil isn't dirt. Soil is alive.
What if, I'm like I joke, 'dead inside'?
I play into the joke while envisioning my hollowness. It’s dark and cut sharply like a cavern. Somehow it angles slowly upward to cause a slant on one side only. It spirals inward. What can I plant here?
As I say the words, or even think them, I can sense the nauseous ache. Women's History Month holds inside it this season of beginning, of birth, of mother earth, of spring. It's as if those descriptions are another inside joke. A choice of words. But not definitions that I am capable of growing.
The image is a bag I chose because of the letters associated with the language I was learning. Its painted feminine surface was the belonging I sought desperately. I could read the words. Pronounce them with the wrong accent. I did not know their meanings.
I had to ask, then learn, the words, I wondered if I was capable of interpretating the meanings. Where was the 'spunk' my father cherished in his memory of me. He had recounted the story to me in another year's spring.
“I was watching you and some other kids at a meeting your mother was at. There was this little boy who was walking around, pushing other kids down so he could take their toys.”
“What? Seriously? How old?” I had asked.
"Probably two years old. You saw him coming. First, you climbed up on a step so you were higher. When he got to you, you put your doll behind you. Then, you pushed him down.”
I had snorted. Memories of me like that, undaunted by others’ expectations, were feathered and paper thin, but the pages existed, and I could resew them together.
“He started to cry. The women came in from the other room. I just said the boy fell and would be fine.” He paused. “I never told your mother. She wouldn’t have been pleased I let you do that, but I was proud of you.” He had smiled broadly and all the wrinkles around his eyes had hills and trenches like the garden. “You had spunk”.
I bought the bag in a country that fought desert and history to plant forgotten seeds rooted in remembering. I chose the bag amid the piled color of fruit whose flesh guards new life. I inhaled their rich, already rotting scent. Perfect to create soil. Fertility. Growth.
"It's for pencils," my niece told me.
I rubbed my thumb along the cloth, its woven texture evident. Strength?
Pencils snap. Still, points can be resharpened. Sharpness cuts, but also digs.
Holes cradle life. Inside them, flecks of graphite, too, are seeds.