Volume 11 • Number 1 • Spring-Summer 2019

John Pulver

Love and the PVC Pipe

I love you as the lizard behind our garage loves the polyvinyl chloride pipe that I have left there. As the lizard scurries to it from the sound of my approaching feet, I throw myself to you when the madness of the world threatens my delusions.

I envy his love of PVC. Neglect does not harm the object of his affection. When spider webs encroach on his circular entrance, he does not clear them with purpose but through his daily comings and goings. At least I do not think he runs past them with the intent to knock them away. If spiders crawl upon you and hide you with their webs, you will not be there to love. Thermoplastic polymer is more durable than flesh.

I think about his love, a piece of solid white pipe, thick walled. Without violence, in a hundred years it will be little changed. Is it fair that his love is so durable? Perhaps, I am a tad jealous of the lizard and his love. Maybe one day, accidentally, I won't notice him and crush him under a foot. But if he is quick and races to his love, he will be sheltered from my feet.

I wonder though if this lizard has delusions. Maybe in his dreams he is a great dinosaur beast. I have delusions too, maybe as solid as his PVC. Passed down for generations, this talk of souls that are as endless as the circular entrance to his plastic pipe. Delicate, vulnerable flesh may only be mine to love for a number of years, but your soul, the flame that is your soul, I can love forever.

With the gold dust of California in his bones, John Pulver has trekked, hiked, kayaked and surfed his way from Chichagof Island, Alaska to the whale-haunted waters of Scammon’s Lagoon in Mexico. He is the author of many short stories, including “Ravens, Hawks and Mountain Gods,” which won the Roselle Lewis Fiction Writing Award in 2009. His novel “Bill the Biker,” is co-authored by Robert Jablon. He has a degree in molecular biology.