When I was very young, I knew that the world was made of honey.
My mother would sing me velvet lullabies as she tucked me into bed. Her melodies would cover up fears that her quilt could not.
For the first few years of my life, I did not know what death was.
My father would drink thick ale from a thick crystal stein. It looked like liquid gold and smelled like sourdough loaves. Some nights it would knock him about and the ale would jump from his glass.
Once every year we would go on a trip. My mother and father would bring checker-boarded chairs that folded in half like a sandwich. They would take out towels with pictures on them, and I liked those. And they would take tiny buckets and tiny shovels, to build things with. They were marvelous things, and every year went to the shore, I was surprised to see them again.
When I was very young, I knew that my mother had the great black eyes of a bear looking for a honeycomb.
The easiest thing that I ever learned was how to feel hurt.
At the beach with pushy green waves, the sand was cozy at first but soon burned.
By my house there was a brook. Sometimes it was thin and quick like hopping ale is. Usually it was gentle and patient, like my mother's lullabies.
Things were hung on the kitchen wall. There was a cutting board, a spoon, and a set of antlers. The most important thing hung on the wall was a washboard. My father told me that I could sit the washboard in the brook and rake invisible gold into it.
When I was very young, I knew that the ocean sang to me, because it was married to the brook. My mother's lullabies were sure as honey and the brook as slow as those songs.
The patches on my quilt were embroidered with anchors and conches and crabs. One time at the shore I met a very small crab who lived in the sand. He was even smaller than a honeybee. That crab did not like being above the sand with me, because he did not know that I could bring him back to my home and that it was nicer there. There was a brook and he could live in its mud banks. But the small crab wriggled away so I packed one of my bright buckets with tight wet sand and I let it down on top of him to keep him by me. Even though I could not see him under the sand pillar, I knew he was there.
I always knew which patches on my quilt were my favorite because they were always coming undone. It was difficult to recognize things by appearance, because my world was made by my mother, and she made my world out of honey.
Someday the green ocean would wash up over my small crab living beneath a pillar of sand. And as the sea receded from the shore, it would crackle like big drops of amber ale as they kissed the ground, and they kissed very hard.
If I could make a fortune by panning in the brook, then I would have to make it by selling mud-sand.
All the things on the kitchen wall were older than me because they were made of wood and they were worn. My father was also also made of wood and also worn, but he was younger than I was. But when he was even younger, my father knew that the world was made from honey.
My father made me believe that there was gold in the lullabye brook. My father kissed like a sand pillar and threw his body like his amber ale.
Hurt is the last thing you ever forget. It is slow sugar syrup.
Magical things were hidden in my house by the checkerboard chairs that folded, and the towels with big pictures on them, but I could never find that place.
Now when my mother speaks to me, I remember when she sang like velvet. The green ocean had been dowered all the gold in the lullaby brook.
Death is the last thing you remember, when all the gold went out of the brook. It was made clear to me that the honey was much less in much more.
When I noticed that my favorite patches were missing from my quilt, my mother told me that she had put them somewhere safe, for when she was ready to put them back on. Someday those embroidered patches will cover up my fears because my mother's voice can not.
When I was young, I knew that pain would flow away in the honey in the brook.
Everything pours away in a slow sugar syrup, out into the ocean where my father's gold flakes are.
When I was young, I learned that there is slow sugar syrup and that there is honey, and that the difference between those two things is as great as the difference between a brook full of gold and a brook full of velvet honey.
When I was very young, I knew that the world was made of honey, for L, once a puppy who rolled in new snow.