Ode – An Introduction

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Ode: noun (historical) a poem meant to be sung

Fact: she was the first one to put tools in my lap – knew I needed to be outside. Back then my fingers were a blur of little touches probing the calluses inside her black hands. I might have been five or four? My chance of pinning down the year is greatly diminished. I can’t ask Lilly. Her mother the daughter of an enslaved woman. Her father Native American. I can’t remember which tribe? What a loss! I can’t ask her. Death carries away with it planet after inner planet of illuminated life lived in specifics – life lived in specifics. I’m left to grope around for the truth inside myself. I’ll check with my siblings but I suspect we’re all still too busy to sort it out? But, it’s worth trying. Our conclusions will be particular and different but interrelated. The same information carries different meanings for each of us embraced through her magic around the house. For example the precise smell composed when the sulfur of a match, taken out of a freshly ironed cotton apron, is used to ignite a gas stove. That is a Lilly fact. And knowing this becomes part of a system of beacons leading me and my brothers and my sisters home. The impulses I assign to the functional structure of my brain are interwoven with soul beats. A great spirit on tip toes is roaming around all my empty rooms – infusing the ebony shadows and stilled air of my existence with electricity. And Lilly is there breathing – on my hands to warm them after I get caught outside in the rain. Fact.

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