This is an earlier draft of a piece that appears in my collection of essays and other random stuff, Raised by Turtles: A Book in American. Some day, I will take the final version and reformat it and paste it in here, but for now it is only available in print for
$4.95 $6.44 (I guess inflation has hit Amazon too – I can’t make it cheaper as there is already no profit in that price).
A little about us. A little about them. A little about nobody I actually know. A little about some trees I care about.
Love is when you meet someone
and she sees you
and you see her.
Love is when she goes away for a day
and the person who loves being alone
Love is when time makes your roads converge,
makes you grow together,
like the Faithful Couple in the Mariposa Grove
who began as seedlings,
far enough apart for a man to walk between them
and then grew closer until, just at the very bottom, they joined.
And after a thousand years, they had one trunk halfway up.
One hundred feet of him.
One hundred feet of her.
One hundred feet of them.
One hundred feet where the precise point
where his trunk ends and hers starts
is a mystery even to the trees.
Love is when, in some strange moments,
you struggle to see how a person who feels this close
could be in a different body.
Love is when you try to imagine
who you would be if your trunks hadn’t joined,
and you see a blank page, sheet music without notes.
Love is when you see her lying there in bed
and think “She’s so beautiful”
despite the tubes coming out of her arms and nose
and all the machinery around the bed.
Love is when you change her dressings
and wipe her ass
and you don’t think it’s dirty or gross.
Love is when she begins her descent into dementia
and calls you George
and you call her Miss America.
Love is when she raves and screams
and is afraid
and tells you to stay away
and when the dementia lifts for a moment
and she smiles
and all your efforts seem worth it.