A Conservationist's Tale
for Yosuke, my Japanese guide and translator
By May, God's warm-handed pleasure melts the terrible snow in northern Japan, leaving crows less majestic, astounded ungraceful, fetching risen prey. My English-Japanese dictionary – dog-eared to words that would lead to phrases on how to conserve this natural beauty – had nothing to describe the somehow-buried light of rice fields, nights barbed with praise-mongering toads, or early light. I was on business. I thought of my wife and her satisfaction with imprecision. She was a meanderer. And it was in a field as relentlessly alleluia as this one that I first met her. I was surveying it for conservation; she was asleep beyond the slope. We mistook each other for nature and, right there, were unashamed to smell and taste and break off bits of Bounty. This was Kentucky, 1970.
My guide found me behind a wreckage of trees and handed me a cell phone. It's your wife, he said. After Hi, she led me into I'm at the hospital. I've lost the baby.
I fell off the ledge of my body.
Alleluia drained from those fields.
My guide rested his hand on my back. I remember his palm and fingers, the halo of his hand fending for me as barbs grew and twisted inside my throat. It was his hand that wounded me into faith.
By Kevin SimmondsQLRS Vol. 5 No. 1 Oct 2005