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Why

By Kathrine Leone Wright

What good are you? What do you do? – Dr. Seuss

Because language is all we have. Because today my son is eight years old. Because songs run over, over, over and spiral out on their own axis. Because I cannot sing. Because almost nearly half through last century and however much is left to me of this one is all the time I’m allotted. Because neurons fire up the ovens. Because my daughter knows: four times four is sixteen is the square root of divided by.

Because intergalactic dust and gas. Because moon rising, rain. Because the world is held together with duck tape and string, my friend. Because pale light and all. Because when a tree is struck by lightning the tree's growth is altered. A knot sometimes forms where the lightning hit. Because all the same exchange fuckay fuckay. Because for years, perhaps all of their lives the wind would die as they touched.

Because it doesn’t cost a dime or an asphalt burn. Because you shouldn’t run with sharpies. Because I can make seventy five pieces of popcorn small enough to fit inside my small mouth.

Because I am of the only ten percent going south with pens. But I can make north, too. Sometimes north is good.

Because words:  Belligerent. Marsupial. Jodhpurs. Silversmith.

Because there’s no room for chit-chit-chit-chat. Because there’s rhythm in them thar hills. Because I was thirty before I learned that feta + cucumbers + tomatoes + plain yogurt dallops = just the thing. (Note to self: Don’t forget the kalamata olives.) No one should wait that long. I need to tell them.

Because you should do what can’t be done, and then some.  Because it takes more than this much time to glean petroleum from the floor. Because energy volts detonate from behind my eyes.

Because it arrived at my door as an empty corrugated box with paisley paper. Because when the box did gymnastics, I threw oily vibrant pastels into the crevices. Because my  mother called me in for dinner and inch-thick paint calcified and the box blew into three hundred fifty seven pieces. All red. Ten different reds. Cinnamon. Cimmarron. Fire engine. Fury. The color of my hair.

Because. Just that.

Because just when you think there aren’t three hundred words left to sling together, you have. Because the same road signs dot Highway 50 and I-95 but each jaunt to the grocery store is new. Because of the wonderful things he does. We’re off to see the wizard.

Because you just can’t slip your eye under the door, but bees can swarm your belly. Ask my friend Scarlett.

Because I was born where mushroom clouds scattered cancer seeds. Because that red, violent earth runs through my veins like so much caffeine. Because it’s an easy trip right back to there.

Because sometimes you just know.

Because it’s leaded fuel, antioxidant, free-range. Because no one thinks exactly like each of us. Because ninety words per minute shoot from my fingers. Pow! Because I’m forever chasing what-gets-away. Because words seeped out in dreams are the worst. A notebook by the bed? Fuck that.

Because when I wasn’t much taller than half my current height, there were myths and Greek gods and tired tall tales gasped and spewed. Because you only get one ticket. Because when I wasn’t tall enough, poems curled off manual typewriters. Today they’re retired. Because tomorrow you, too, will be tired.

Because it can slay like a scalpel, a trademark, an AK-47. Goliath. That’s who.

Because clarity, obscurity, contradiction, levitation. Because conjugation. To be. To be. To be. It depends on what the meaning of the word is is.

Because there are few perfect titles. Do you have a perfect title? Because you could share it and we could all be thermoluminescent. Warm and lovely.

Because once I buried time in a sandbox, found it months later in a plastic baggie. Because chaos, string, relativity explain us. But not enough.

Because a good firm stride and handshake are equally important. Because my mother kept her sewing gene, gave me her sewing machine. Because missing buttons bring down entire closets. Because when I close the last page, the very last page, my head lifts from my spinal cord.

Because the world has much to say. Because the world.


Kathrine Leone Wright's work has appeared in Cincinatti Review, New Orleans Review, La Petite Zine, Small Spiral Notebook, Weber Studies, and elsewhere. She holds an MFA from Florida Atlantic University, where she received the 2007-2008 Howard Pearce Creative Thesis Award. Kathrine edits the online literary fresco, Words on Walls, with Ariana-Sophia Kartsonis and works as a Corporate Communications Manager for a medical software company. She and her family recently moved back to her native Utah.

 

photo by Dinty W. Moore