Bio Note: Hi, everyone, I'm Lori Howe, and I live in Laramie, Wyoming, where we call ourselves "Laramigos," and where I teach in the Honors College at the University of Wyoming. Thanks so much for reading. It's an honor to be part of the V-V community.
The Phenomenologist’s Last Request
—for Beo When I die and they in somber suits come with the odd, finite desire to assign all that is human and thereby unfathomable to the knowability of numbers— a series of three for the weight of my bones and all they’ve carried; two flimsy characters for the infinity of breaths, the universe of dreams… Ask them, instead, to record my age, not in the empty, black-and-white shoebox of two dead and finished numbers, but in hieroglyphs of the sea, in pints of good, aromatic vanilla, in rafts of prehistoric, croaking pelicans, in oaken barrels of dark, red wine, in casks of salt crystals, in sacks of nutmeg, and an alphabetic strand of loves like prayer flags as colored and scented as a summer market: orange peel, blue hydrangeas, a forest of rosemary. Ask them, instead, to record my weight in the silver and aquamarine scales of fish I’ve watched while dangling by one inhalation in warm, briny water, in the insouciant chimes of the grackle, in the billowing of birds’ wings taking flight in a sweet, yellow cloud. For what are we, really, coming into this world or leaving it, but shaking, new-formed poems feeling our way across the surface in the green eyes of an eel, the tulle grace of a heron? And, if you can, let them record my last words, not as some parched request for water, or for more time, but in the gold of the sun inked in warbled skeins through layers of clear, turquoise sea, tracing the ever-changing who of me onto clean, white sand, to be crossed, and crossed again, by tiny, gossamer fish, seeking, before the tide draws out, a final bite of something sweet.
©2021 Lori Howe
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