A new can of paint
sits on the wooden floor
bright and tinny,
a promise waiting
to be fulfilled.
You spy it,
organize a search,
finally discover a butter-knife,
a tool for one purpose alone.
You surprise me though,
first talk—a three-year old
and a paint can,
“Open me. Open me.”
Your mouth moves
with another’s voice.
“Yes, yes” you answer,
move your small hands in circles
make hardy stabs,
trying to uncover a purpose.
I listen from the bedroom,
an old gossip,
surprised at the way
life inhabits all things,
surprised at your private genius
the way you give words to the mute,
turn lead into gold,
bring objects to life.
It’s there, not in the words,
but in the way their bodies move together,
with a gesture that lets go of itself
to unravel a thought,
then the accompanying nod,
like steps in a dance.
Surely such sober happiness
comes from love
distilled by the vinegar of time;
Its slow passage makes the invisible visible.
Faces start to look the same.
Eyebrows curve at identical top corners.
Language overcomes itself
and births a new child.
When did their conversation begin anyway?
In the grocery store buying a loaf of bread?
At a concert, Beethoven or Mozart?
During the birth of a child?
No one remembers.
These two know each other’s secrets and lies.
Each has thought about what is hidden
and their talk includes all that too.
Now the words include everything--
two aging bodies at a table
surrounded by families, lovers,
children, and enthusiastic dogs.
Those near understand a word or phrase.
The timing of a movement
occasionally helps translate to outsiders.
Underneath the talk, though,
there’s the sound of water rushing,
as if approaching the edge of a large waterfall,
white foam falling fast.
Coranna Adams is a writer, filmmaker, and educator from Asheville, North Carolina.