Friday, August 29, 2014

Xylotheque: "Mulberry"

My book, Xylotheque, is made up of nine essays accompanied by ten photographs. Every couple of weeks, I am posting an excerpt from one of the essays along with a photograph that was not included in the book. "Mulberry" first appeared in Adanna in 2011. 

Excerpt from "Mulberry"

Seeing for the first time the purple glints of my newborn’s eyes, her skin downy and puckered and tumescent, perfectly ripe for this world, I thought again of mulberries, of being held in their branches, of purple stains, of the burst of berry on tongue, and I saw giving birth was akin to climbing a tree: a reaching toward light, nourishment, endurance, life, a cradling and an offering of the most cherished to the world.

Maybe this is not true. Maybe I did not think of the mulberry then. Maybe I seamed it into my memory later: mulberry, birth. Who can say what thoughts occur during birth? It is stark physicality, a rending. It is an elbow against sky. And yet, on some level, the mulberry was there, subsumed by my laboring. Everything in my life was there with me, on that delivery table. Is it a lie to create memories after the fact? Is it a fiction to plaster over experience with words? Is it a violence to insist a tree means something other than itself?

To read more of this essay, look for my book Xylotheque, available from the University of New Mexico Press and other online retailers.