First Infusion

By Naomi Ruth Lowinsky


“I’m a green-and-yellow basket case,” you tell me, shuffling from bathroom to bedroom and back. We lean on each other, laughing. The basket weaver of the stars sent you to me, my green man, my pollen, my salmon leaping upriver. A tisket, a tasket, we’re in the woods without a basket. Bear tracks you. Badger bites your neck, draws bad blood. A gang of cells gone rogue steals your breath, your thunder. The world unravels.

We walk on narrow girders, afraid of the black hole beneath. We sit in the ribcage of a beached whale, look out to sea through an arch of bones. You, who always know the sun’s direction, have lost your bearings. Your body will not suffer this infusion gladly—a horde of stranger antibodies. Who let the barbarians in?

Here comes the old man of the woods; he knocks on the roots of trees; he shuffles the seed-waking dance of the bear. Here comes your Earth Soul. She’s one of the Weird Sisters, wears dark skirts, keeps company with the owlet on her shoulder. She and her owlet know all about rogue cells, all about infusions. They work in your dark, weaving the forest into your basket—tooth of badger, cave of bear, deep sleep of late November.

Here comes the rain. Here comes the great white egret, spreading its wings over us both as we leave the infusion center. The wild ones in the woods aren’t done with you yet. Nor am I.




Category: Nonfiction