Only the resilient milkweeds are left standing in the garden; cocoons hang from their leaves like forgotten ornaments. A few shards of terra cotta punctuate the uniformity of the dried soil. The rosebushes have shriveled. There is no trace of the beautiful hibiscus that we planted. Sawgrass and dollar weeds have overrun everything. They're as stubborn as the birds that continue to visit the ruins of our backyard and die there. I found three carcasses, almost bones, impaled by homemade stakes, probably carved with Victorian daggers. (Wouldn't that be our tool of choice?) Doubtless, the work of teenagers as unruly and gloomy and sadistic as we were. A garden of dead birds -- how excited you would have been at the sight of this. Of course, in some sense, these ruins, the intrigue of homespun murder perfuming them, are perfect. They explain what has become of us. Surrendering the garden to merciless elements, we've tended its disintegration the way we have tended our own -- with beautiful abandon. There is something in these ruins that speaks about us, and to us, in a way that the repulsive periwinkle of roses and sickening lavender of orchids never could. We were always children of overgrowth, of sloppy excess. Disorder breathes life -- and its opposite -- into us.
One would have to know that there once was a garden behind our house to find it. So little is left of it. One finds it the way I find you: in small bits, in cryptic transmissions. Some things are obvious, naturally, but others may be just a little interference in the background that one has to zero in on. It's not that I can't picture you running through this house, or sitting in the garden, or locked up in your room (you were always locked up in your room). It's just that there has to be more than that distance between us, that blankness that separates us like morning fog. A distance that is not so much between us as it is us. I take you in slowly, in tiny bits and try to put you together. But you exceed the meager version that I come up with. You're like the sawgrass and dollar weeds that spead over every border they reach, swallowing up more and more space. At least, there is some consolation in knowing that what is responsible for this mess of life is a forced simple logic and a broken imagination that can't get their hands around a circle that isn't closed.