Spanish for BeginnersClay Matthews
The sadness of the flowers pushing up in the backyard too early to listen to what the groundhog’s shadow had to say break my heart every time because the cruelest month is not April it is all those other months that because of one nice day perceive themselves to be April. I say this to you, as someone once said to me, Look, the trees die standing up. And I have no idea how to feel about this— is it noble or terrible or natural or just something contained in the sound of a morpheme that calls out el from the get go like an instructional Spanish tape in the car pointing to everything outside and repeating: el árbol, the tree, el árbol, the tree, el árbol, the tree. Tiny flowers, go home to your mothers, the winter is not through with all of us yet. And so what if I push my obsessions on to everything that grows in the backyard, along the sidewalks, everywhere, because I can’t stop this because I never asked to stop this because I don’t know yet for sure if I’d even stop this if I could. I could write the history of the world on one petal even knowing that somewhere along the way the petal would become furious at being history and disappear forever. I’m thinking if you gave me the right pen and microscopic vision I would try to spell out the guttural sound I’ve held within me for an eternity nonetheless. And I don’t even know what it sounds like, really, but it’s there somewhere beneath my diaphragm and cries out at the worst times of day. And so the trees die standing up and I hope to but I don’t know why, exactly, because so many of us die on our backs, and I knew a man once to die just like that, on his back, and he was whispering something I don’t know what but for the sake of all things green and for the sake of my own backyard I’m going to say I know exactly what he said it is what I have said it is what I’m saying inside as my life moves from one translation to another imperfection: el árbol, the tree, el árbol, the tree, el árbol.
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