Cover Photo: Pacific Bonsai Museum, Washington (photo by author)
Pacific Bonsai Museum, Washington (photo by author)

On the Sixth Day

The oregano crossed the street.

On the sixth day, we knew there would never come a seventh because that would mean rest, and we don't rest. The herbs are spilling over the yard's boundary, and how did the oregano get across the street? The neighbors will fuss. I don't know the neighbors, but I care. I'll cross the street, get rid of the pesky oregano, and it won't know the seventh day either.

Do the trees? Do the birds? I've seen birds sleep, but not trees. They just skip to falling over. That's what I relate to. Falling. Maybe that's the sixth day. Fall, tumble, somersault. Fathom it. Really, try to. We begin to fly because fuck falling over.

We are each the ring of a living form greater than ourselves, some kind of universe tree. And in the ring of this era, the gods look back at us and say, goodness-what-a-godawful-year-no-pun-intended-we-didn't-do-this. Gods, far away, don't let this be a thick, dark ring unimaginable and unimagined. 

Puncture this place with oxygen and a movement to ignite--ignition, Ignatius (who was that?), movement, memory. Remember us, remember us, remember us.

Big surprise, the seventh day comes. The neighbor catches me. She wants the oregano because it is a gift after all. Apparently, you can still give gifts even without meaning to. You can still give. You can.

Even as you rest. 

Corinne Hughes is a poet, essayist, and fiction writer residing in Portland, Oregon. She is a 2021 participant in One Story magazine’s Writing Circle, and received a summer writing fellowship from the National Book Foundation in 2004. She frequently attends workshops and is currently at work on a novel and a short story collection. Her poem "10 Books Influencing My Novel Right Now" can be found in Passengers Journal.