Cathexis Northwest Press
How Dying Works; 1893 Cucumber White Wonder; The Texture of Petals
By: Lourdes Tutaine-Garcia
How Dying Works
After the wind hisses, insects whisper. Even silent noseums find voice as they consider how dying works. Moths who touch the glass globe on the porch fall like Icarus, clutching the mystery of death in their singed wings. The anonymous power continues arriving in ever changing guises– flyswatter, hooded figure with scythe, pesticides, chorus of brilliant angels, cold snap, candle flame– does whatever it does in rendering essence from body to create scent in hissing wind attracting flies who do not discuss anything with anyone. Alone in an eave, a mosquito whines operatically, bragging how it traded knowledge of how death works for the privilege of coming back to life, but most have doubts.
1893 Cucumber White Wonder
They are ghostly, those heritage white cucumbers amidst dark green, leafy shields– spirits resting between rafters. Aware they will never ripen out of palor or boogey themselves into summer colors, I reach for them, expecting my fingers to drift through the specters, but they hunker against my palm–plump, muscular with sinewy indents, freckled with white warts, taut with freshness. Sliced, they reveal albino flesh wrapped in slightly yellow skin, hint of green amidst seed gel. The seeds from which the dark vines sprout glow the transparency of ghosts becoming fruit.
The Texture of Petals
What gets left behind when a story is told– the run in a stocking, beetle struggling in a spider’s web, an observer too trifling to be mentioned, texture of flower petals. Even dust has its story– how it used to be a mountain behemoths crushed into pebbles that were volleyed among angry waves until grounded on a shore where winds belittled it into what is it today –easily swept with brooms into dustpans by observers too trifling to be mentioned. Everything hauls a story the way a body drags its shadow everywhere waiting for a mood to thicken, so the shadow can reveal its story. At every telling, the story knows what parts of its anatomy are missing as it presides all knowing on a cloud, a one-eyed god with a rusty nimbus watching tales rise from pandemonium– ideologies, theories, love letters, all created in the image of story. Only the story is aware the observer, too trifling to be mentioned, is the beetle struggling in a spider’s web, making dust remember it once had the strength of a cobweb.
Lourdes Tutaine-Garcia is Cuban by birth, American by citizenship, and Cuban-New Englander by culture. Laurels include B.A. English (Vassar); M.A. Communications (Fairfield); works published in several U.S. journals, including *The Adanna Literary Journal, Avocet, Metafore,* *Blanket Sea, and SCUM*. When she is not writing poetry, she works on novels and raises porcupines. “How Dying Works” came from visiting my in-law’s summer house in Northern Maine. The house, a Montgomery Ward mail order kit, was built by my husband’s father, his grandfather, and assorted uncles. It currently hosts four generations of my husband’s extended family for a yearly family reunion. One summer we ended up at the camp because a family member had died. At that time, I remember looking around the cabin at all the family photos and taxidermied moose heads and imagining all the lives and deaths associated with the camp. That thought gave rise to the poem. “1893 Cucumber White Wonder” originated in my vegetable garden when I was picking heritage cucumbers. All the cukes were green except the White Wonders that looked like alien worms while they hung against the dark leaves. By themselves, however, they looked beautiful, almost etherial. “The Texture of Petals” was a gift from a homeless woman who did not know she gave it to me. I remember passing her and wondering what her history was before she fell asleep in the alcove where I saw her. She struck me as both a forgotten petal and the the observer too trifling to be noticed.