FAMILY PORTRAIT (Wexner Center for the Arts, The Ohio State
University, March 2007). I stand apart, daydreaming Technicolor, technicalities (the
camera—my call to the arm’s length). In deed, my shadow—like yours—bespeaks
shades of gray, black, and white, the newly relineated afternoon’s delight of what unites
(and separates). Lin’s Groundswell (1992-93)—Maya technology—deftly knells a
landscape of the feminine, that barren plenitude of anticipation, which blinds the fruits’
softest spots, the melancholy of what is not. A Strong Clear Vision. Bells ring murkier for
me, a mercurial rise and fall, the indecision of spring, a springboard for revisiting
Antigone’s, Will you share the labor, share the work? Your father and I began, a broader
politics of the question, Will you help me have a child? I cannot write about this now;
something eruptive interrupted. In the bedroom, Ricardo Ruiz’s The Songs My Father
Taught Me Are the Songs I Teach My Son
(1994) awaits, another landscape—a father and
son extend a hand to a tree draped in lilac, pre-Pentecostal as Lent. Lent to my
imagination (the pitfalls of allegorical overidentification), before you were born I sang a
song, too, I am the reluctant tree. Your father’s the figure linking you to me. Why do you
also hold the hand of death?
The question flush-flared a truce when I least expected it.
Through a glass darkly, I witnessed the rush to gift rebirth—an artificial resurrection,
patikia, like flowers, blooming on your limbs. I watched three shades float-flee, cloak
themselves in mourning, partake of a caretaking. Since then, that shadow economy, a
second wind, kinship-diagrams the unfamiliar—our portrait, a groundswell of broken
glass, asymmetrical as your legs’ circumferences, a stark remainder of blockage, the
paradox of the hourglass’ torrential embargo.

Pipe Dream >