In Lieu of Lemon Jelly

The boy wonders aloud who might have stolen his socks. The question assumes someone responsible who isn’t actually present, just as if we can disappear completely even when there are people searching for us. People who suspect misdeeds have taken place, that the zodiac itself has been shuffled. So that you can’t tell if you are in North America or South America. Probably the latter because, if not, if we were still in Philadelphia, the arrows would all be pointing the other way. And the hydrants would look just like those we remember from a time when there were no hydrants. Only nearby streams. Filled to capacity in September with sunfish and those lanterns you’re supposed to rub just as soon as you find them. And you wish for certain wishes that might get you arrested in other countries. Where the zip codes have letters scattered about in them, here and there, among the more traditional numbers, like bird seed. And no sooner have I formulated what I mean, the things I desire like someone lost in the arctic or raised by canines, than the whole of it changes into its divine opposite. That which it would be if there was a heaven populated by actual human beings. Rather than shades and illustration taking a mostly human form. But even this isn’t enough to satisfy the longing that creeps up from the elbows like gangrene. That winds up swallowing the whole of creation. Or at least that part immediately surrounding us wherever we happen to be. At the zoo, say, tinkering with those notions of form implanted by an upbringing without much access to the soil. And the beasts that burrow through it. Looking for an exit, I suppose. Or those inns where people gather in the evening. Around a fire. They listen to the strains of the viola. But there is no viola visible.

Charles Freeland | Mudlark No. 35
Contents | An Enquiry Concerning the Apparent Dispersion of the Phyla