The flower might be a rose — let’s say it’s wild, uncultivated, madly scented, and that you’ve come upon it on a path near a river. Or it might be a prize dahlia, or a humble marigold — and suddenly you’re on your knees, sniffing the clover in your lawn — honey, you think — and in that moment you are a bee — a reasoning bee, a bee with a sense of gravity and humor, a bee with knees but no shoes, a bee with green hands and memories, and yet all people can do is fear your sting, wave you away, and hear you buzz — but then that whole construction crumbles and fades away and you are human again. You’re on your back in bed, staring at the ceiling. You could have painted it nine years ago when you painted the walls, but for some reason you didn’t think it was necessary. It turns out you were right. It wouldn’t matter at all if it were never painted. But that thought bothers you, the idea that something doesn’t matter. Everything matters. And then that fades. You’re still on your back, but now there’s a distance of about a foot between your body and the mattress. A cool breeze passes between. Laurel, manzanita, moss. Cool concrete with chalk marks from a child’s game. Butterscotch pudding in a chilled champagne glass. Fresh from a Bordeaux cave, a wheel of cheese, someone whispering on a radio long unplugged, coffee with cream, Odysseus looking at his charts upside down wishing he’d taken Latin in school, and then, finally, snow, and you are the biggest flake of all. Ha-ha, you say, flake. And then you fall. You are falling still.
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