Monday, November 14, 2011

It is time for planting paperwhites, for making something bloom in time for Christmas, all bright white in dim rooms. Paperwhites are related to daffodils, their perfume too strong to just be ghosts of spring's shouting yellow flowers, their bulbs and leaves still laced with poison. The stories say that the whole genus of narcissus stems from the youth who fell in love with his own reflection, but in the language of flowers a gift of paperwhites is a sign of hope, of a belief in the sweetness of the recipient. Paperwhites are the only members of narcissus that don't require a period of cold and dark to bloom, and perhaps this accounts for it.

If I could I would write messages with paperwhites under your windows. If I could, I would tell you all of my secrets with flowers.

I have been to the edges all alone, hands torn and ragged, talking in science and thinking in poems. The secret of ultima thule is that it is only blank space, that the world off the edges of our map is where nothing like monsters live. I would put my hands over the holes in you, give you the space to breathe and to heal, if only you couldn't see all the way through me already. I would throw your secrets off the edge of the map, over the cliffs I have already risked so much to see. At heart ultima thule is only the place beyond the borders of the known world, and so I think that the closer we walk toward it the farther away it always gets. I don't know if it's the distance or the height that causes a freezing that starts in my marrow and shatters my bones, but maybe it's only the freezing that will cause everything to mend again. Maybe the flowers to be found there will turn out to be the sweetest ones to harvest.