You’re Not Here Yet. Come In.


Steady and long he released the parting humid darkness of it. The body’s
intoxicating liquor thrumming a song of need.
There are at least three heroes in this story and they’re all leaking.

Tonight’s movie is Father Follows the Sea. Nobody you’d know is in it. Let’s watch
to see who’s excluded.
I know no “why” of arriving here, but let us hold forth like a battered “how”
embracing the elusive heavens.

The newspaper containing the movie listings has itself been described as
“unfortunate,” but the stars won’t convict you and the rest of the convicts are incapable of
“There’s a better percentage in anything used,” says my brother, who arrives with
Pink Floyd in his ears, used girlfriend in tow. She’s wearing a different sadness every
time he appears. This time he’s been studying an herb known for its “cleansing
properties,” which he believes is slang for, “Eliminate guilt and do it again.”
Marriage is irrelevant. He’s that old fashioned. Sometimes I wonder how much
father is hiding inside him so I watch closely.

Out there in the field, Father’s shoulders are rising and falling as if he were
standing on a boat. Father’s ankles are wet. He’s sweating through his nearly-paper shirt.
The sea is waiting. He seems to have lost his “transcendent glow.” That’s the way father
thinks about it.
I wish father would appear as an apparition. I wish he would cry and tear anything
asunder. I wish father would dress in the real world without his ghostly red ribbons. I
wish some paternal witnesses would notice.
At least the movie eventually stops leading us away.

I wonder when I might come upon my father’s ruffians exchanging recipes and
notions, the bulk of them imponderably sleepy, sluggish, and I wonder if this makes me
smaller, more dangerous, and I wonder if there’s more of my father that way.

There’s a man still following me. I wait for him to reveal himself and discover he’s
me. I can feel him do it, but I can’t see it. That changes everything.

And then I turn and look at him and watch him look back and realize it’s still me.
And that changes everything back.

Rich Ives is the author of Tunneling to the Moon: A Psychological Gardener’s Book of Days currently being published in serial @ Silenced Press everyday in 2014 and forthcoming in paperback. Begin from the beginning, catch up, read daily. Just refer to the Burrow Guide.