Desert Tender

Desert tender, you and I dwell in that parched scrubland of unspoken things, yielding broken things. Arid earth rends the clay into abrupt dry islands, irregular curved pucks of crumbling terra cotta, crags widening. There we dwell separate alongside the deep chasm. We are in a desolate spiritual place, a void of growth, movement, words. Two hard and terrible monuments, glaring pointedly at each other through eyelids clenched shut. We are sharp edges and chafing surfaces for dust to settle, lending memory and tradition to bitter times. Every sage blade of life around dies in the static atmosphere, at length.

Yet in that place, in time, a melody haunts the wasteland like a seeping spring. It stirs. That desolate air awakens by forgotten graces of movement, aching beautifully. This melody, as in bygone always, a wordless source of tenderness. The melody meanders, enriching, reinvigorating a path along the clay where long forgotten flora once thrived. Unregarding toward the years of suppression [a fertile dormant nothingness], they grow renewed life and unprecedented verdant vigor.

But for the tender I would remain a soft submissive thing. Easily I bruise. I bruise by you, at times. A strong gardener might sometimes bruise the tender shoots. Yet with diligent, undaunted, unrecognized care you build an arbor. In that unlikely scene for charm you build with careful measure and even an excess, perhaps, of meticulous and tireless detail. Faithfully, heedless for the lack of notice, you build an espalier for me. I grow into it. The comfort, the surety of low terrestrial space you blockaded; I was stung by denial. I elevate from the ground, in the end. Lifted above, to enjoy the breeze of space I would never occupy while simply reliant upon my wandering shoots, crawling, threading low amidst pebbles of the ground. Growing accustomed to the dust on my face. The tender loft is become a place for blossoms to be seen from afar and fragrance to be carried upon the winds. I, lifted by the unseen tender; the tender’s ever lifting is their too-often unheralded expense. For who can perceive the unspoken word of the desert tender within the ethereal smell of a fragrance?

Hope for survivors. Insight for professionals. Awareness for supporters. Click the image to purchase Audrey Opp-Waverick’s stunning debut memoir.

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