- West Cork
I know the green leaves of the grapevinescaling the rafters of the glass sunroomare not green. Rather, they absorbpart of the spectrum of light and what they bounceback is green. But I also knowthat green is only a phenomenonof this wavelength, and not even that, really. “Green”is a set of symbols and a sound that representmy experience of seeingthe grapevine and the tall grass outsideand the verdant cliff-walled islandin the harbor and the coldand shallow water near the rocks, the rocks filmed with algaeand the slatted table and the transplanted park bench in the sun-room, and the grape, of course, that I pop into my mouth,which tastes especially “green.”
When I was a child in that time before quotation marks,I favored green. And of the many greensin the crayon box, the dark and almost wetgreen of Forest Green.
Now such markers of identityare immature, imprecise; I’ve rejected allthat cannot be confirmed, meaning life—I am trappedin my body, with a brain agedlike a mid-range, wax-sealed wheel of cheddar.
Here on the wet southern coast of Ireland,a hot white sun fills the room built to capture it,and looking out past the vines at the shrubbed arboledferned grassed cliffs and at the algaed rocks,I feel a muted terror sittingat the center of this white totality. [End Page 95]
Christopher Robinson’s debut novel, War of the Encyclopaedists, co-authored with Gavin Kovite, will be published by Scribner in 2015. His work has appeared most recently in Missouri Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Southern Review, Post Road, and Gettysburg Review. He is a recipient of fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, among others. His secret lair is somewhere in Seattle.