On television, Neil asks me to consider the geniuses
who discovered seeds, tiny pellets of nothing that can become
everything: fuel, power inside bodies to house brains
of neurons, dendrites and axons. Don’t fear what you don’t
know: This vocabulary lesson is simple, like radio waves
of body and conveyor belts / receivers like baseball mitts or her
pelvic bone / and telephone wires or whispers I push into his ear.
This all exists with Neil or without, for when his heart no longer
two-steps to the rhythm of our science, when his skin
disintegrates, when muscles fall from bone, atoned, seeds
will keep on bein’ seeds. Eddie Van Halen
died today, a planet’s agreed-upon guitar god, which is to say,
a holy bard of strings, of fingerboards, of incurved sides like
woman (like me). And now I must
know: Upon a god’s death, where do the
intervals between neurons
the chorded dendrites
the strummed axons go?
Where do they go when the radio waves silence, a mouth covered
by calloused palms / when the receivers crumble, fast balls caught mitt-less,
exploded hamate bones, wedges and hooks transformed to
crumbs, the tiny bits at the bottom of a bag of potato chips / when
the sea witch uses dull scissors to snip phone lines, and I can no longer
call the one my blood heeds? That knowledge tucked like sheets of love
letters in gray matter, like dollars in denim pockets, like
foreign coins in velvet cushions, like how much I seek his words
and bearded men with dark eyes. I like to imagine a library—not
heaven, not hell, or anyplace in between—but a limitless, wall-less,
ceiling-less archive of everything shelved on shelves of solid hydrogen,
but warm like leather sofas against crackled fires, like his freckled shoulder
for my searching lips.
Jaclyn Youhana Garver is a freelance writer and editor from Fort Wayne, Indiana. She was featured in the August 2020 edition of the literary magazine Narrow Road, and her work has also been chosen by the Wick Poetry Center as a Traveling Stanza selection.
Photograph by Emily Rudolph.