“The Church says: the body is a sin. Science says: the body is a machine. Advertising says: The body is a business.
The Body says: I am a fiesta.”
~ Eduardo Galeano
I walk through the jungle every Sunday, to be alone in this garden's wrestling search for sunlight, and to hear the villagers sing hymns in their church yards. I hear their voices and prayers swim up to the canopy. I hear the voices of those brave enough to ask and believe, and I find myself still unable to. I smell life in every fiber of decaying, breathing, thriving, failing existence here. I have never been able to see you that way, Z. I sing to find you and I sing to mourn you and I sing to remember that I am alive and somehow responsible. You are never far, but always far enough to keep me going.
It has been over four years and now I watch myself stretch father away. I watch my memories erode and my mind fill in blanks that didn't used to be there. I have picked up the pieces and I have fought to have today, and I am here now, in Northern Tanzania, in East Africa, looking out into a world so much bigger than the one we knew. I wish you had the chance to know.
I think of you often, as I think of Sudsy, too. I wonder if he would be proud to see me here near the base of Kilimanjaro, and close enough to smell the air that passes over Ngorogoro crater. I am walking through Imbaseni Village, and the sunflowers are reaching towards their reflecting creator, and the red clay of earth is drinking in life after monsoons. I think of you here in my dreams, on this other continent at the end of my earth and my mind. You are never far in my dreams. I see mountains and they stretch across my eyeballs and they are pools of endless reflection like the sun. You are in them as well. You are a child at the base of mount Meru hiding in the grass, crying out for your mother, sinking your toes into the soil and listening to the wind to take you home again. You are the zebra speckled across the goddess Serengeti's body, and you are the cranes tracing the light across her face. You have been in every place all at once, and yet you have been nowhere, I think of you as a hollow place I cannot fill up.
I have leapt across the fire in the middle of the night with the village boys, watching the sparks burn holes in the Serengeti's lashes and dance out like ghosts. I have chased a field of you in spring when you pretend to be flowers and your white dresses scatter and fly in a million different directions as you flutter to the matching clouds. I think of every time I didn't kiss you. I think of you as Africa, and as the me I have yet to find and keep desperately searching for in other people's faces. I think of you as a destination to find, and meanwhile I am still young and hurt, still hoping you will fill that place that was left empty far before I met you and before you died.
I am but a world, some flesh and bones to keep it in.