Orchid Backlit in Saturated Light
The photograph I most wanted was blurred. Hands were placed on his head in a gesture of blessing, but his face was out of focus. My emotions were swirling between the Sahara Desert and the South Pole, with a magnetic shift oscillating in the ionosphere.
He shows up to dance with broken angel wings, searching below seven shields of beauty for a familiar face. We spend the week sewing costumes — silk, velvet, lilac flowers on shaded backgrounds — to move ourselves backwards through time. In the late afternoon, we stitch ourselves into Renaissance and Elizabethan ballrooms. We connect our fingers across the rose satin of American Prairie ballgowns and Romeo shirts. Then we roll sushi for dinner.
It's confusing when you dance — eye to eye, so close. As your hands connect, you feel the trajectory of the circle you move through leaning back into time. You feel like you've danced this way for thousands of years with the same eyes in different bodies. Suddenly, you're in love. For a moment, the colors and countries bleed through tinted leaves. Twigs of rhododendron forests break under your bare feet, but it doesn't mean you have a future.
The angels say sleep on the ground so you can feel the wetness of alfalfa fields below your heart. Let the moisture in the earth seep into the quilt you've been stitching for seven years. Even though the moon is a sliver now, it will send its silver light into your dreams. They keep the future hidden so you can learn, but the guidance comes from inside, like a melody you heard from the flowers when you were three years old but forgot to tell anyone.
A group of traveling musicians say there is a tree in India with the pattern of everyone's life printed on the leaves. The flute player said it was in a courtyard on the way to Shangri-La. You know the place by the silk draped over the Goddess with six arms. You can visit her there, in the scented garden of her secret flowers, or wait for a message in a dream. She is a wild orchid flying across the moon, and what you have forgotten is drowning.
Sometimes when I look at photographs, I feel like I'm looking at ghosts — people who have disappeared into other lives. Sometimes when I look into the mirror, my face is far away, but there are footsteps between the tiger lilies behind the empty lot at the corner. The music in the mud under the orchids is pulling me to the earth, planting roots there. I am the woman under the veil. This is what I am dreaming.