I look inward in this wan light. It gives me peace, finding this part of me, this little oasis of order in the wilderness. I smell its soil, touch the trees, always heavy with fruit, and finally, gaze into the glassy water. I see my reflection and rejoice, for this no one else will see but me, only I know this soil, this water, this face.
There, close to shore, on the silty bed lies my jewel. I hesitate, cursing these hands, for I know what they do to it. And yet I yearn to feel its weight in my palms.
I plunge my arms beneath the surface. The water is cool, like my feet when I first saw her curls caught in a slope of monsoon sun.
Ah, here’s the jewel in my hands. Shimmering, like the throat of a hummingbird, its heft, that of an infant, surprises even now. In its depths I glimpse those black veins, I know its fate, but to have it against my skin, ah, the joy of it!
In the mansion of her womb, all is dark, every sound subdued save the soporific throb of those two hearts. Tell me of a twining that goes deeper, has firmer roots in the primeval loam than mother and unborn.
It fills me.
I shudder as I return it. This time, the water is warm like praise from those lips that once, ah, never mind. Yes, the water offers a different vision each time.
It is twilight when I open my eyes, two stars twinkle from a window up high. This room is empty but for the bed, a shelf and me – an orphaned shadow cast by the fury of a faraway star whose fire will one day warm my grave.
They decided not long ago that I wasn’t a danger to myself. But how little of my life now remains in my hands.
And my jewel will gleam then glimmer then its glow will give out. I’ve seen it become a barren corpse that begets only the deepest, most violent of sorrows. Yes, until then, ‘I’ will endure.