62

Frank
Some Thoughts on Birds and Trees…
Pigs, Grasshoppers, Swallows, Oh My!

It is only after a second cup of weak coffee, the thick red mug drained, but still steaming, that I remember last night’s dream. Louisa and I share a pre-breakfast snack of richly buttered white bread, down to the final piece in floral woven basket in the center of the white plastic table at the center of Las Golondrinas’ walled rainforest courtyard, just off-center in Oaxaca where the sky, unpolluted and overblue seems to scorn that above Mexico City in its color alone.
We’re still waking up, and, halving the final piece of bread, I can see last night’s dream-meadow, the sky cracking its blue over the tallgrass and wildflowers, saccharine and idyllic because of it. Yes: I was nude. Yes: I was on all fours, pressing my nose into the dirt, perhaps, still in sleep, predicting an ideal cup of lowbred morning coffee. Overhead: birds maybe. In the grass, waves of grasshoppers (a popular edible delicacy here in Oaxaca), in their mass synchronized leaps and falls, allowed the meadow to appear surf-able. A drone of summery peace—like that of a distant mower Oming its way to manicured lawn nirvana—permeated the wind, which was downright downy.
From this vantage point, low to the ground, I traced the curve of the earth to the horizon, where I saw a strong pair of blue jeansed legs

begin to speedwalk toward me, the torso hidden in angle. In these legs, I sensed an imminent disruption of this meadow-peace, the nasal purr of the lawnmower now defining itself as a meditation with a rotary blade. Something that decapitates grass and the blood-fueled things that crouch, nude, in it. Everything becoming present and present tense. The legs pick up their pace. Closer. Closer. The air temperature drops—goes from soothing to freezing in no time flat. The wind accelerates, takes the grasshoppers up into its gray maw. Closer and closer and right on top of me, and I finally stretch my neck backward, a flexibility reserved for nightmare, spine coiling like a bedspring, and see him. A red-faced farmer with a long-handled axe in his fists. His fingernails caked with white paint. He raises the axe over his head, topped with a straw hat, and in a blur brings it down with an angry thwak! between my eyes, halving my skull. Still on all fours, I looked upward and saw the axe handle extending outward from my scalp as his painted hands reached again for the handle, to pull it from my brain with a skinny biotic chill. And I realize, right there in my dream, that I am sharing the vision of that poor pig who died for my pork-brain taco, yesterday in that pedestrian alley in Mexico City.
It took the sound of the swallows to wipe this away, and two cups of coffee to resuscitate it. Over the last piece of buttered bread, I tell Louisa about it.
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