And so I spend my days allowing my mind to flit among a flickering film reel of images: I see the vuaka, its fur glimmering in the soft air as if lit by stars, and the peachy pink of the manama fruit. I see the fire smoldering beneath a charred creature, its skin slubbing off in jigsawed patches. I see the tornado of birds shrilling above a kanava tree and the opa’ivu’eke’s rising head breaking the horizon line of the lake. I see the boy, his hands as bright as flowers in the dark night, moving over my chest as if he were washing off my sadness, as if it were something that clung to my body like a scum. And of course I see Tallent, walking through the trees still, his movements as silent as a sloth’s, his long hair painting his back a river of gold and wood. Sometimes when I fall asleep in the middle of the day, dozing despite my best efforts to wait until the lights clunk off and I know it is night, I imagine myself walking alongside him. In these moments I have never left Ivu’ivu, and the two of us are companions, wandering the island together, and although it is small, it feels limitless, as if we could walk its forests and hills for centuries and never find its boundaries. Above us is the sun. Around us is the ocean. But we never see them. The only things we see are the trees and the moss, the monkeys and the flowers, the ropes of vines and the scuff of bark. Somewhere on the island is a place where we can rest. Somewhere on the island is a place where we belong, where we will lie down next to each other and know we will never have to look again. But until we find it we are searchers, two figures moving through a landscape while outside and around us the world is born and lives and dies and the stars burn themselves slowly into darkness.
—found in The People in the Trees (2013)
—Newsletter #649 - sent December 11, 2019
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