Short Story



FOCUS                       Dorothy Bloom


Were I to ask:

What is at the bottom of my ankles?

I would answer immediately:

My feet.

Questions and answers are but the map of experience.

Beyond experience, in the realm of universal affinities, we all came together on June hillside, in that place I had discovered long since, the one that had puffed what I recognized immediately as the gentle geysers of Elixer. That time I discovered it I remember it was the middle of February, and to my wonder the snows had parted, the ground was bare and brown and moist like the inner workings of a giant organ, not metallic, not chemical but brown and moist and slightly refreshing to the skin. It was, I realized at once, the ineffable foundation of everything.

Now I offered it to the ones who had followed me there, those willing enough or lucky enough, to feel the universal tap that taught them the way to touch the untouchable. They were neither believers nor did they expect to become believers, but were bonded in the wholeness of their approach behind me,

I can just hear the words, Oh, I’ve heard that crap before, and I pity them.

It does not come from the faces in the crowd, which were long, or round, and often pinched with hunger. That hunger was for something more than food. And I, covered in my robe of gold and purple, gesture in a wide, draped arc to a hummock of swelling grasses.

I shout from my higher place on the hill:


The word rings out in the unmistakeable tone of a great bronze bell.

All around us…..did I say it was my birthday?…..Again, all around us the grasses flourished in that pale shade of new green that we do see the grasses wearing in June and dandelions smiled; I said smiled; and it all resounded in prodigious harmony.

I call out:

Come, make your circle here, around me.

Of course they come, as many as thirty who shuffle in a rag-tag line up the hill and form a tight, stiff circle, breathing deeply of Elixir and exhaling intention.

The original language wells up in my throat and emerges translated by my tongue and lips:

Surely the foundation breathes over us, wafts across the earth; its divine whispers brush against our ears. We are standing over the umbilicus from which God addresses us. This is the encampment.

There is the possibility that I am no longer speaking. I may be directing my words directly through their yellow eyes into the impossibly corroded cells in their brains.

And I told how I wandered, lost, on this verdant hillside, my tanned tennis shoulders bent under the weight of woes well beyond the mere and actual failures of everyday life, in concrete terms, were evil wings that fluttered maddeningly  against the rigid confines of my skull, that flew me away from my work, my home, my wife, my child, my friends, my guitar that I had strummed so pathetically in contraband chords.  How I envied the smiles of those who smiled, deaf as I was or indifferent to the tunes they whistled in the graveyard of their souls.

When I heard the voice, which was not a voice, but the echo of a voice, calling:

Here it is.

The black wings beat wildly during their escape. Sweet smells arose out of the earth as I went down, no, was drawn down by soft, giant arms, to greet them. As I see you are drawn down now.

Rumblings growl in the earth below us, the sun shines straight from heaven and ignites the earthly gasses that explode and blotch their faces blood red. Their eyes roll back and they lie, as I had done, at once both senseless and perfectly aware. All but two or three who hang back beyond he edges of the circle, whose hands hang listlessly by their sides, their chins slack.

The rumbling commands:


It blows in near solidity past our faces and past our bones and pierces the center of our consciousness:

Here build me a tabernacle.

The parchment unrolls before my very eyes, as I read the invisible words forty cubits here and twenty cubits wide in jade and shittim wood, an ark also to hold the materials of this covenant.

Now I find the forked stick in my hand and with its own will it dips honoring the presence below of the water of life.

I cry out:

Will you listen to the voice of the Almighty.

The irises reappear from the tops of their eyes. Over us hovers a visible concentration of vapors as smoke or mist or gray cloud.  They stir; sit up.

They lift their raggedy heads in a mighty shout:


To the four corners of the world.

Their faces fragment into lively expressions of grief and joy, and I myself shrink into a pile  of quickly deteriorating gold and purple damask from which I rise a man full of promise. We kiss.  We rub grasses between our hands and hail the bumble bee sucking nectar in the blossoms at our feet.

A beneficence. A recap if you will. It is. It exists. It is never over. I know everything. I had given all. I left my questing pilgrims to their own devises and returned to my ordinary house under the tall maple tree. For the first time I ignored its banality. My wife, her yellow hair flat against her back, dressed in the blue jeans and sweat shirt that once made the hair stand up on my arms, heard me coming up the front steps. She was carrying a cheesecake full of strawberries.

She said, and I could see she was delighted:

It’s you!

My child pulled on my trouser leg.

She wheedled:

Play for us, Daddy.

Blue lightening shot from her eyes and seared my mouth as I bent to kiss her clear round and white forehead.

I picked up my old guitar, which I found still leaning against the chair where I had left it, and played all the old songs: Jimmy Crack Corn, Away in a Manger, Silver Threads Among the Gold.

My fingers played over the strings in riotous disregard for propriety, and my wife and child danced and sang. The notes pirouetted in the slightly stuffy air. Clear and pure they dropped through the air like crystals of frost sun-sparkled on a winter morning.

People look at me differently now, and when I go out every day with my camera to take pictures for the newspaper, they seem eager to expose themselves on my film. I believe it is because I know everything, and that everything is the same, and that it is just in the knowing that the difference lies.

I rarely look back at that June hillside, but the other day I met a man crossing the street who was smiling a ragtag smile. I felt as if I were looking into a mirror. In the mistaken idea that I would search out the past I got into my car and drove into the country where I found all the hills looking the same with their cows and corn, and the daisies scattered in the fields. Quickly and carefully I gathered them in a bouquet to reflect the size of nature’s gift. I picked them and returned to my car, where they remained fresh for the few minutes it took to get back to my house, and I was rewarded by my wife’s illuminating smile.







About dorothybloom

Well, I'm a bit on the elderly side , but I'm fighting the decline with my entry into the virtual world. I've been thinking for while that my situation is worth talking a, and for this reason. There is a tension between old and new. The old are intent upon keeping their authority and the young are intent on getting it for themselves. hereThis tension is as old as the Neanderthal and many of his four-legged cousins. And I want to explore that.
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2 Responses to Short Story

  1. David says:

    Is this a new story? Because of the way it rhymes with Unimille a couple of months ago. I like the way the metaphysics instantly reduces to the feeling of soil and plants instead of to vulgar explanation.

    • dorothybloom says:

      David, that was so astute and all. This topic has fascinaed me for years-of course they are related, although the story dates back several years ago. No doubt I’ll return to t at some point/ Does it ring any bell to hear that this is tied up with the story of the Knights Templar running off from the destroyed Temple with The Ark of the Covenant in which is hidden (now gone forever?) the secret of the Elixir of God. Love Mom

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