Spotlight

Speaking in Tongues

I used to live where the branches and blossoms had nothing new to say to me. I rushed by them daily and grabbed the keys, always late for work.  img_0030

They stood ready every day, the azalea, the dogwood, but I never stopped to hear their news…unless all of sudden it was spring.

Sometimes in warm, sweet May I did walk slowly up the drive.

Brimming rosebud lips,

forgotten language, beg me:

think of her again.

Really though, that old real life was the kitchen counter, papers, numbers, groceries, dates, and times.

 

Now I’m in a new real life, so distracted by things that speak to me without the benefit of regular tongues, that I am startled and mad when humans invade my garden to speak in the usual way. I watch their jittery mouths. And gape at their flashing teeth when they open their skinny lips to laugh. Not one word they say registers, though, and all I am thinking is this:

 

“Every blade of grass has a right to live.”

 

My grandma used to say that. You’d think she meant it as metaphor, for people. I always thought it was her blundering recitation of the famous line from the Talmud.* She was talking about grass, though. She loved grass, and her rock garden full of white stones and tiger lilies.

One day without warning, my grandfather cut down all the flowers and put the rocks behind the garage. He said it was easier to mow the lawn that way. Shortly after, my gram had to go to the hospital for four months. She was sick with sadness.

Sometimes, when humans invade my garden and jabber on about things from that old real life, I feel as though I am channeling the pain my grandmother felt the day he murdered her tiger lilies.

* “Every blade of grass has its angel that bends over it and whispers, ‘Grow, grow.'”
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