Cloves

by William Nesbitt

I push against the dull, silver-steel door and walk straight to the register in a late-night convenience store in Valdosta, Georgia somewhere in 1997/’98/’99.  I know exactly what I want.

“Pack of Djarum Splashes.” 

“$4.25.”

I light a clove.  Its fragrance fills the air with the erotic smell of someplace else, distant, earths away from here, someplace where birds with long multi-colored tail feathers sing their songs and rushing rivers sweep clean beneath the smooth arches of ancient trees; a place where you put your ear to the earth and hear the pulse, the tides of underground seas with waves that never break filled with krakens making love; a place where the stars form infinite, spiraling stairways; a place where the night is made from the purple and red fruit of strange dreams rooted in exotic soils that alone could grow anything, sustain you, give you unending visions, make you immortal.  A map of fire and smoke.  Thunder riding lightning.  Night rain in the high mountains.  

I am a new element. 

——

William Nesbitt has published articles, reviews, creative work, and interviews in various scholarly journals, newspapers, and websites.  His books include Forsaken: The Making and Aftermath of Roger Corman’s The Fantastic Four.