The Geisha’s Reply


It was a provincial experience, which needed only its own family’s acceptance, so I
came to the city. I discovered that one’s intentions are often indistinguishable from one’s
acceptances. That’s why some of the clients tell me they have to check their whipped
backs in the morning to see if the blood is theirs.

No, Madame, I do not believe that the feather of the hummingbird is the handle of
a tiny axe though I am willing to entertain your fiction long enough to see it that way.
And I do not think that simply because your neighbor is beating her rugs, you should trust
the lips but not the hands.
I have certainly learned from you, Madame, that nature does not love me. That is
how it has become worthy. That is how it can accept me. That is why I belong. In this we
are all treated equally and it is the one who can see it who may prosper.

It’s spring now and the plants are listening to the birds. I do not wish to live a life,
like a poorly developed fictional character, which consists only of conclusions.
And so, no, I don’t yet know my purpose. Should I?

Yes, Madame, I have several clients now who appreciate many parts of me. One
has been gentling his excited visions of torn limbs. Another is happy with the ache of his
muscles at the end of a long slow journey. Another recently died and I quietly mourn
him. He was scattered and beautiful, brilliantly chaotic and living in several directions at
once. I find it amazing that he finished even his life.
I am reminded, Madame, that our death is watching us and retirement is but a
momentary recognition like so many others in our frequently oblivious lives. We seldom
achieve a real education. That much I have learned from subtle degrees of difference
among those whose knowledge seldom touches the earth.
Still, I envy you. As delighted as I can be with a warm green adultery, I am bound
to perform, as is my nature, and you have no such obligation. I suspect that may help you
to desire it more, but I can imagine a moment at which you will wish to say, “At least no
one feels guilty, despite all that we have done.”
Or because of it.

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.