orpheus descending

The scene begins with the daughter, at the foot of the stairs to the ocean, and she turns and she looks at the father and she says, "We have to go down, Daddy."
This ocean, this stair, this entry point is loaded, it's a loaded gun, a crossroads marked with white chalk and gunpowder, and to cross over means to be blown in a thousand directions at once.  I am terribly nervous about writing this scene, even now, or especially now, now that we're in the middle of it.  Because this point is a threshold that got crossed on a night that was too late and too cold to be naked, naked as children playing in the forest.  This point is a threshold, a place that got crossed on a day when things needed uncrossing, first at the river and then here, on this space, to get clean of all the thousand kisses in the depths of something that didn't know how to sustain itself.
Before we went down, I saw myself making the same masks of her face, papier mache masks that reflected every one of her nine images, I wanted to keep it holy, I wanted to keep it sacred, I wanted to keep it somewhere near the door to my place in the world, somewhere between desire and ecstasy, but something shifted on the way.  I found the masks I had made had all come to gather in front of my hands, like a ghost, like a sad and lonely ghost, and I never know what to do with these phantoms except to pull them close and try to kiss them, kiss the ghost, whisper hello and goodbye and hello, across lifetimes I recognize you.  Only this time the paper was growing thin and dry, and when I went to kiss the ghost, she crumbled in a thousand pieces and blew away like ash, and that was the only thing that I held that was worth keeping, the ashes of something that I would never really understand.
And I also understood that these things that I was holding from another lifetime ago, they were separating themselves by themselves, the dross from the gold, and my daughter was leading me into the underworld this time, because this time needed a child and not a lover to be the guide.
I watched her descend, she hadn't been here before, but she was Persephone hungry for pomegranite seeds, like the bee always knows exactly where to land (on the center of my head).  There's too much water here to see clearly, so I am just trying to remember these things when I remember them.  And when she got closer, and I could see that the waves were getting furious, the rocks begin to look like the bones of the dead.  We always get more afraid of death when we're close to coming back to life.
Now there are clouds and now there is rain and now there is a light flickering in the parking lot in the middle of a morning where I'm here and not there, and there is nothing that needs to be born in words, because it's in the middle of its own birth, and it's so close to death that it seems important to pay attention to everything.
The round crossing guard is wearing black and red, and there's something about to identify itself, where the breath on the neck is going to announce itself with a voice.
I know some things.  Some things about this place, some things about how I can watch the daughter playing on the lap of the sea, and I want to help her find shells that look like bones, but I'm stuck on the edges of the waves, eating sea foam and painting sea monsters with my hands.
That one, half this and half that but neither and both all at once, the one that shifts, is leaving traces and marks on every edge of every precipice, and I don't know if it's something I recognize across lifetimes or across oceans, because I am starting to suspect that this lifetime is the first time this has ever happened, and it catches us both by surprise. 
I left a part of myself, the ashes from my hands, at the edges of the doorway to the underworld, and now my hands leave marks that are from the living blood of this body, this body right now, the one that wants and the one that remembers and the one that doesn't know where all these parts are supposed to go.  The foam that runs through my blood is raining over my head, the foam that takes apart the things that are no longer necessary, and leaves the bones on the doorstep for another reconstruction, this foam is whirling at a thousand miles an hour, and there's no place to stand that feels like I won't be sucked under.  But I'm already under.  The feeling of falling comes strongest when I wake up, when I first wake up, because it takes that long for this body right now to remember that anything that feels like falling for that long is worth the time and attention.
And at the edges of the ocean, from the mouth of a cave, there's a boy that just left the center of the earth, and I remember her because I didn't ever stop thinking about her, and I don't know who she's supposed to be, and the same thing could be said for myself, except I think it might be whoever we want to be, as much as identities can create themselves in the middle of a storm on a winter night like this with the moon like this with the sea monsters gathering like waves like this, and I think I like it like this. 


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