house of happy

Life adventures in prose and verse. Explorations of places, people and words. Stories and fun.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Glow Flow, Light Flight

There is something I haven't told you, about Thailand. I can tell you now.

On our last night on the island, we lit up and launched lanterns in the sky. I claimed the biggest, I had the most to send, with care and sorrow, to you. (Oh they did protest: I did what you used to do, put my head down and walked with determination, 'like an elephant to the watering hole', the quickest way, the surest step, the highest purpose, until they were quiet.)

The night was still but rumbling with a remote storm. Quicker now, we assembled our lanterns.

Where is it now, that big heart of yours, the smile that lit the land like new grass growing straight through snow? The lantern would find you, at that moment I imagined that the lantern would know.

I sat on dry flagstones, waiting for the paper to fill up with heat before it could fly. I summoned words from the starless night. Nothing came. A few tears brushed the side of my lantern, like the first raindrops of this storm-to-come. Choked now, underbreath and pathetic, before the light floated away: 'Come back.'

A million things unsaid. Sorry and how-is-it, and where are you now and why, and sorry, and I didn't know, and sorry, I miss you, and what-to-do-with-so-much-love, and thank you dad.

And it was off, the biggest lantern, carrying the smallest letter: 'Come back.'

We watched them fly. I narrowed my eyes until the salt inside glowed deep ladders into the sky. Our lanterns were far now, still flying. Away? Or coming back?

Yes, I believe you sent everything back. You wouldn't have kept us waiting. Did you use the light of my lantern, or comets' tails, or the countless paths of this rain? You, divided in drops and dreams, returned to the world, re-made, watching me still from fledglings' nests, from seeds and blossoms, from the eyes of lambs and newborns. Now I just need to go around and recognise you, reacquaint myself with the world, rebuild my harbour.


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