Practical and Nearly Transparent


It was necessary to turn off the light. It was essential to become committed to the
darkness. I was seeking realization.
It was at this point in the conversation that the part of myself that had been talking
decided to stop.
So I didn’t say anything and the darkness agreed with me.
So when the silence had been talking long enough, I found the edge of the river and
began tracing the recurrent dreams.
I followed one about reading a book full of blank pages and I came to a place
where something dead was moving as if it were alive. It looked so familiar it scared me.
I saw the frog-bellies of the pregnant women at the fountain begin to glow and drip
and glide along the surface of the water. An eyelash fell on the back of my hand and I
stared at it.
Someone I had trusted without knowing why said, “It’s always clearest in the
dark,” but I began to doubt this and to listen to the soft liquid trill of the dripping water as
it continued to roll down the huge bellies. I heard one of the women say, “I want you to
put some of yourself inside me. My son would like some companionship.”
I couldn’t do what the mother wanted. I wanted some innocence that didn’t seem
Perhaps we could do one thing and not another and give it a name and build
sanctuaries for it. It was an exciting thing to think about and when you can’t feel
something like that anymore, when it seems as overwhelmingly complete, as final, as the
last word of a Russian novel, you want to call it love.
I’m afraid I no longer have my head in the clouds and I can therefore not
adequately respect my earthly obligations. In truth I only said that because I like the
sound of it. I may be inclined to say things for the wrong reason, but that does not
necessarily make them false, and they may contain bright moments of unexpected
optimism like, “Dream good men to the door and deliberate them with kisses.”
The darkness had grown more beautiful and it was still necessary to leave the light
off. The realizations were far too illuminating and they were still moving to the edges.
This made them “participatory.” It was continual. Like the oldest trees saying, “Follow.”
I went in search of the light I had turned off. I needed a purpose, even an artificial
I thought, “That will take a lot of dirt,” and I followed.

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.