Creation Story

 By Maren Loveland

        He makes the light and the great old ocean and the Word, but I have the dirt, the ground, the chthonic underbelly, and sustenance of all. I have the jewel-toned beetles and cavern cathedrals and the slick blesmols, the translucent jellyfish, and the elegant otherworldly bats. The velutinous darkness I see when I close my eyes and look out is what I make: that moment of descending into something unknown, with limitless possibility. Black calla lilies, thick root webs, lithe olms, young coyotes with protruding rib cages. 
        But before I make the earth, I try to enjoy this night and remember my sliver of time before the hard work of creation. The time of loving, and crying, and walking through snow floating down like tiny newborn stars. The time of waking up to the bright marmalade sunrise shining through the bathroom window and whispering to the daytime moon. I was a lover eating rabbit stew, wondering how I could rupture so violently, so completely, and still move forward through time. The old time of unknowing, of not knowing the unknown.
        On the first day, I made the starling and then let its feathers become the centerpiece of the highest world, glittering with iridescent speckles, letting the undertones of violet and turquoise shine through. This, I thought, is the sky, the world’s favorite quilt: the starling as firmament.
        I rest tonight and think about my large-souled days, like when my father taught me how to fish, or when I picked bucketfuls of fresh strawberries in spring or flew through gilded air on a bicycle in June. This is where I will begin and end, in remembering these moments of unknown beauty and quiet grit.
        Tomorrow I will make the dirt, a luscious loam with a dense liquid heart that beats and writhes and fuels the world forward. The dirt from which everything else will flower and grow without my help, alone and unabated. I will make the ground strong and soft, full of subterranean sculptures and sepulchres and pools of oil and snakes. I will create sandstone red as summer cherries and rough as a man’s stubble, like thistles. 
        Earthmaking is an act of time, grace, pain, patience, and love. It is a birthing. I trust my body and create the underworld, the underneath. I don’t know how I know it, but I do. The clay, the silt, the dirt, the sand. Within the soil of the world is where the fleshy self is, where secrets are whispered and sung. All things are taken into the soft world of the earth, returning, a homecoming that invites new life through transforming death. It is where things are made radical and rejuvenated. It is why mud spread over the eyes gives sight. A body placed into the ground is born anew, made supple through time and slithering annelids.


Taisha said…
Powerful and lovely, Maren! I’m thrilled to be reading your work again. I will savor this one more than once. I hope all is well.

Popular Posts