It’s a bit like a teeter, son, with no
totter, but more of what we are talking about here, a stretching
between two sides. Ridiculous,
I’m sure, but let’s pretend, as in prætendere, to stretch forth, or præ- as in before the stretch, which, in
our case, could be with a stick around a spent fire pit, or on a short
walk around the block, just the two of us—
teneo, tenere, tenui, tentus, the same root which brings to us
soft/tender, as well as to hold/to take. And
what’s more appropriate to father and son than to take
you in my arms to hold you, to take your tender
frame, tendere, to stretch it?
We might call this growing up, kid, but you’ll probably come to know it better
through its Proto-Indo-European as reig- where comes riag and
rack—a form of torture, admittedly of a kind which involves
stretching—a reach. Or a stretch.
For now, let’s say it’s only your eyes that need
lengthening. “Look at the sky.” Lift up your eyes at what’s passing
by—bye and bye—in a pressurized
cabin and reckon, ræcan. Lift your eyes like airfoils.
It’s as good as metaphysics to you,
as the distinction between Dasein and ousia
and all that matters. The dozen acorns you stuff your pockets
with, or a collection of cicada skins. The branches piled and sorted in a
red, rusted wagon. Squirrels, and the sprint of
squirrels. Toadstools, earthworms, unearthed ants.
And if ants, a chance to squat and watch them throng
their eggs, marveling at the ones with wings so far underground.
Why won’t you reach
or, at least, rake the remnant ashes of last night’s fire into
mountain peaks—tightrope the ridge of their spine, then traverse the thinning atmosphere all the way to the pocked cheek of the moon? Instead,
when you settle—making mounds, tents,
hovels—pronounce rather insistently, “It’s for the meerkats.” Or
groundhogs. Or some other animal
which burrows. Odd,
I know, how you always totter down, never stretching your wings—unaware of
how I reminisce, teetering again on this
seesaw, see-saw—on this ci-ça—thinly veiled,
as this, or that.
First published in issue 10, Winter, of Sundog Lit.