brevity_leescottSo many feelings fit between two heartbeats
So many objects can be held in our two hands
Don’t be surprised we can’t describe the world
And just address things tenderly by name.

-Zbigniew Herbert

This was supposed to be about the dirt that flies up in puffs between bare feet when the bees are buzzing all a-thrill, their noses deep and delighted in flat Cokes that sit out for too long while kids splash in the creek, browned legs stemming from cut off shorts and browned arms hallooing, glinting like sun-spackled trout. This was supposed to be about the bits of white skin that peek out from beneath bathing suit straps or T-shirt collars. About sunlight that puckers bright, about edges that haze as the nights draw long, deep breaths. This was supposed to be about tangerines—how tangerines tangerine. It was even supposed to be about my grandmother’s guacamole—pluck four avocados from her tree, dice them up with no sense of symmetry, stir the whole green mess with a pint of sour cream, a good smash of garlic, and the squeezings of one lime (not too green, mind you, picked from the leafy lower branches).

Or maybe it was supposed to be about the way water condensates beneath sweating glasses, or the arc of a bow swooning at a cello’s strings, or the Sanskrit assortment of roots snaking out from the hillside—the same roots to which we as moss-footed children lassoed jump ropes to and propelled down the hill, propelled through deep caches of dried leaves while our toes dipped below the crumpled surface into mulch. Or maybe it was just supposed to be a remark on the lean shadows streetlamps bandy about as kids circle the block on bikes with spokes thrumming at clothes-pinned baseball cards. About when the thrumming slows and the Charley horses unknot, when the jump ropes unravel and the roots unearth. Because that’s when the oaks started falling, one by one, felled by the weight of their own leafy heads. And shortly thereafter the birds got into the nets we laced around our fruit trees so that the only peaches left were pecked at and angry.

Or maybe it was about something entirely different: the unfolding of ironed laundry. The grout going black between bathroom tiles. The casting of kites into a thunder capped sky. The last of the summer fireflies drifting in the grass. But never mind the “supposed to.” This is not about (was never about) Dvo?ák —no, not about kneecaps—nor the clasping and unclasping of his limbs with mine.

Amy Scott is currently a student in University of Iowa’s Nonfiction Writing Program. Her essays and poems have appeared in The Iron Horse Literary Review, Quarter After Eight, Damselfly Press, JuiceBox Magazine, and The Daily Palette.

Photo by Tricia Louvar