And a joy was taken that night.  A joy was taken away, made exempt, expunged in some cavernous archive where memory is reminded by only other memories—the past’s insatiable appetite eating its own frozen flesh with no seasoning, just preservatives that never lived but hold what lived in stasis, halting the act of decay.  Maybe while David Threnody made that drive across the Sabine, his copyright sold, while Papa Frenchie waited in a cell blind in one eye, beaten by wife and sons, Bethany in labor becoming as a mother to Marie Toussaint’s toothless curse to push, there were spiritual advisors ministering to each of them, hovering as if nightmare Cupids with broken arrows, the toxins on their tips some star gate opening to time as it was but not is, and if each of them could see the sky the portentous clouds gave only an acid rain of flashbacks, eating away at what it cleansed, dissolving the sad silent secret to happiness, the quietude not peace in air chasing after thunder, the flashing light of an epiphany already dissipated, the sound following and rolling in ever smaller muted waves merely a footnote to a passage already read ‘til it was dry of meaning, cross-referenced and the connotations sucked into the thirsty cracks of the earth, trickling deep and even further down than the roots in the soil needed, to the bedrock, to the empty and dead aquifers, and leaked into some unknowable core—that first thought, that first memory, where fullness, existence, is measured by what is empty, what does not exist.  David was a boy again in church, listening to hymns, listening even before his hands knew the proprioceptive feel of his guitar.  Frenchie was a young man calling at Bridgette’s door with roses, his hair just right.  And Bethany was a girl hearing the sound of those records, those records Sissy Walker played out of her kitchen window.  Jeremy Bloodwood waiting to walk with her and talk of hearts big enough to hold Jesus.  They were all innocent again.  Maybe even Marie Toussaint as she pried Ben Threnody’s fingers off the cord wrapped around his brother’s neck.  They were new.  Each with their own small joys.  Their secrets to happiness trapped in some nexus where they could dance and mean it.  Where they could laugh and mean it.  The routines they’d created to greet each new day not dulled into some submissive acquiescence, and they went about them with their inner voices singing.  Singing thankfulness.  Singing praise.  They each had their lust and they were still sympathetic to it…  But that night, that night the twins were born, David Threnody returning from New Orleans, Frenchie too bruised and beaten to sleep on the cot in his cell, Bridgette dreaming—that night led to an extra day—a day none of them needed.  And another day would follow it.  And another day.  Each one building on the heartache and loss.  And yet, still, their inner voices talked to them, and they forgave.  They forgave the meaning of the loss of meaning.  This their nobility.  Their beauty.  Even as they forgot the beautiful.  Even as the words associated to it seemed trifling and mundane.  For they could still dream.  And David was recalling the dream before he was awoken with the word Bethany was in labor.  He was thirty now, and in his prime, and as he crossed the Sabine, as Frenchie ministered to his wounds in a jail cell, as Bethany cried and raged, Marie Toussaint offering her help as she concentrated her one eye’s focus when that first head crowned, as Bridgette herself dreamed, they were all measuring it—their existence—by what didn’t exist.  They were all trying to find it.  They were all trying to find their joy again…

Advertisements