It’s all very well, this endless mania for miniature, for finely-wrought prose (two Inches wide) and mahogany peep boxes – ocular Victorian marvels holding a world entire within one tidy cube. And
listen –there’s a portrait maker who travels the Métro de Paris with the most cunning oil set nested in his hand. Each day, he daubs a passenger’s likeness on the back of his ticket. Just
think of the sailor etching the great kill upon a whale tooth (the very whale). Of schoolgirls stitching furtive initials – their hearts’ desire stretched to breaking within the borders of an embroidery hoop. Ah, but I,
I have empires and fortunes, minions and arenas at my disposal — the rightful mingled heir of Christo and Nero. I have room to show it clear and show it whole. When pockets are deep
and canvases vast, thing becomes frame becomes thing itself. The living teasing the hypokeimenon from the inert, dead illuminating quick’s noumenon. I’ll cause a
stone courtyard to be built. Then pillaged. No one may visit for twenty-three years. Nothing growing in the tumbled ruins but a lone fern in one dark corner, the overlooked benediction. Next I’ll gut a
Georgian estate. The ballroom becomes aching Atlas hefting sheaves of marble — each slab broader than a mead hall gate – and on the highest stack squats one seed-spilling pomegranate. Behind the
drawing room’s locked glass door a black mamba wends endlessly through piles of heaped silver moiré. And so it goes, chamber after chamber, vegetable upon steel, the breathing and the breathed. And, vaster,
a domed stadium to shield my woven-walled maze. My warp: rebar poles twelve hands high, twelve inches apart. My weft: League-long spirals of archeology by the dozen. Braided
electrical wire. A stitched row (two Inches wide) of love notes liberated from the dead letter office. An endless rosary of the thorniest hawthorn branches, another of placating laurel. Ribbons of beeswax. Ropes of carnival beads. Garlands of hand-pulled
cattail paper. A chain made from the horse leads, dog tags, falcon jesses, cat bells of departed familiars. And the meditation path itself, culled from his lost summers — shredded cedar, sunbleached clamshells, pine needles, red sand and crushed pink gravel. With last breath I’ll
acquire the Salar de Uyuni. And in the dead center of each dead mile I’ll establish one impossible planting, each smaller than a child’s wading pool. A miniature bog floated with cloudberries. The daughter of my courtyard fern. A bonsai forest. The ancient
apothecary’s rose, blazing fuck you against its frameless, endless mat of salted white. And the last improbable possible: the herbs of Provence, to crest my burial mound.
About the author:
Melissa E. Jordan has poems appearing or forthcoming in Off the Coast, Terrain.org, YB Poetry, Squawk Back and Hitherto. Now a freelance journalist, she has worked as a newspaper reporter and as an editor/writer for hunger relief agencies. She lives in northwestern Connecticut.