Joan’s Letter to Mr. Jones; After the Fire Festival On the Feast Day of Mary of the Candles
Dear Mr. Jones,
Forsythias’ impossibly small blossoms were promised, but these mouthed back, earthward—yes because something is happening here but you don’t know what it is, do you Mister Jones¹. What body part, what geography— indecipherable, my finger’s archipelago strums uncertain foliage where a second season moves through me unacknowledged. Today when I stood in the street, I felt my shadow burn its betrayal through the pavement. I recognized my heart’s sobriety as a true misfit. I wanted to tell my old lovers that they could all stand next to me. That the draining of blood from their lips was anger, not abandonment. I wanted to explain to them, shoulder to shadow, that when they passed through the waters, I would be with them; and when they passed through rivers they would not be overwhelmed. When they walked through fire, as in my song², they would not be burned³, they would be bridegrooms. They would not be strangers unrecognized by flame. Of all the things I wanted, the one thing I wanted most was to create the past differently. Mr. Jones, I fear my own interpretation of self as selfless. As if once given I will be permanently troubled. My words cross through the law. Our children will gossip, live with dreams knotted to the back of their throat; the air in their next century will be thin, their voices misunderstood, they will pray as if to a secretly dressed tribe whose image will be found sealed in stale envelopes. It might be someone like this who blesses us?
¹ Bob Dylan, “Ballad of a Thin Man” from Highway 61 Revisited
² “My Song” refers to Leonard Cohen’s “Joan of Arc”
³ Isaiah 43:2
Thank you to Marcia LeBeau for the inspiration/impetus
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