The Body Language of Trees

Kevin O’Cuinn



The Body Language of Trees moves off, mounts zigzag. From the ridge he calls below, ‘Suchness kills relations,’ but the words etherise and the Maharajah of Connemara does not hear. The Maharajah of Connemara refuses to unshoe. The hills know pain, says The Body Language of Trees, they feel each hobnailed step, now get over yourself and unshoe. I won’t, says The Maharajah of Connemara, and nips from a flask.

The Body Language of Trees accepts his invitation and arrives at 2 PM sharp. He has a bath full of 90% spud-stilled hooch. The Body Language of Trees joins him in the bathroom where they sit on the lip of the tub and drink. A soft day, this, rain irretrievable mist. Later, the two of them empty the house of its furniture, into the garden with it, then strip naked and wrestle.

The Body Language of Trees drinks tea. A good day, this, he says, and toasts sheep in misty hills. The salmon oblige — a raging horde of one-track mind, pink and gold in mauve Connemara.

A battalion of sheep stealth down on a sleep-doze Body Language of Trees. One licks his hand, another chews his laughter. They gather round like kids for stories. The Body Language of Trees peels back skin and embraces a bloodshot afternoon; chops and liver, a fair pot of stew.

Christmas in November. This won’t do, she says, on waking, and extricates what she can. Better you’d smothered me, better I’d ignited on impact. The Body Language of Trees stands — his neck wilts and his shoulders round. From the side he is a question mark.

A dozen baby steps and the ocean sinks and he kicks without wanting. The Body Language of Trees is followed into the waves by Sasha, a pastel pink Golden Retriever. Don’t even think about it, Sasha says, and chomps a foot, paddles him home. The Body Language of Trees coughs his way back, forward, call it what. Ashore, Sasha performs CPR then bounds the beach after a tennis ball.

The Body Language of Trees deposits himself at the roundabout which is the last chance to not continue West into Connemara. Locals stop and say Christ, Body, this is no weather, get in before you catch a dose. He waves them on, prefers The Gulf Stream to fireside pints. Tourists approach in rentals and he flags them down, tells them Connemara is closed, that There is nothing to see here, folks, just Feck Off. The Body Language of Trees considers this his Civic Duty.