Reaching / by Christina Rosalie

Tonight the room is supple with heat. On the kitchen counter, new red potatoes, yellow tomatoes, and a half-drunk bottle of bully hill wine---red and sweet. Outside, the dark ink of night pools up against window panes.

Since we moved to this hilltop, wild with poplar saplings and clover, I find myself thinking often of my dad, though rarely in the way I used to do---remembering small fragments of the life I knew with him at its center. Now it is almost as though I’m catching glimpses of him right here beside Bean and me, as we ramble about the yard, walking with tall sticks, or finding small fossils. And as if they were some ethereal proof of this, dragon flies and butterflies as wide-winged as the palm of my hand, often follow us about, or settle near us on windy stems of grass.

It seems as though moving here, I’ve inadvertently moved beyond the bitter sweet of remembering—to some place that follows the improbable zig zag flight of finches towards the future.

I stumble over my thoughts tonight, wanting like I always do, to reach out and touch what the experience of loosing my father was, and never grasping more than empty air. As though the experience were a foreign film that I've watched a hundred times, and still the crux of the story remains a mystery: lost in translation between what the living mind can know and the spirit mind cannot say. He died four years ago, yesterday.

Outside moths with wings like frothy chocolate beat against the screen, trying to touch the light. Sometimes I’m angered by them: their innate stupidity sends them again and again up against the scorching heat of a flame or bulb, and in the morning I find their delicate corpses scattered on the sill. Other times I understand them utterly: that fierce longing to know what exists just beyond the grasp of all things knowable. In a way I am like them, throwing myself again and again at the mystery of death, trying to reach out and touch the light on the other side.