To Be Told at Gar­ish Sun­set, Un­apolo­get­i­cally

Prairie Fire - - TABLE OF CONTENTS - JES­SICA COLES

40

You are per­mit­ted,

and some­times re­quired, to mythol­o­gize your first love to cre­ate labyrinths of fin­ger­prints

(whether your body was touched or not) and pop­u­late hearts with mon­sters to de­vour

the mean­ing of mem­ory.

Now,

To un­der­stand this tale, you must hear mythic names—

in­nu­mer­able, un­pro­nounce­able, in­ter­wo­ven— foot­note fig­ures in half-faded ink who cre­ate the uni­verse be­fore love snaps taut to sail your epic, hints of his­to­ries and prophe­cies promised for an­other night with a brighter fire or the right ar­range­ment of stars or more rain.

You may keep sing­ing first love’s saga as if you were An­cient Greek/Norse/Egyp­tian/Celtic, re­born and sift­ing ves­ti­gial frag­ments from ap­pro­pri­ated myths, as if you car­ried no cul­tural dis­con­nect

to colour in­ter­pre­ta­tion.

This way,

You may meet your­self amid de­com­po­si­tion, un­earth an un­named de­ity who de­fies wor­ship but per­sists in meta­physics and nar­ra­tive arcs as stub­bornly non-lin­ear

as ev­ery love that came af­ter.

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