The Imperative and How To Use It

Holly Willis

Prompt:Each One Teach One

Step into the wet sand, clamor aboard your craft, shift the questions, settle the trepidation. Welcome these commands, please do, they come from the Latin. Face the stern from the middle seat, and take stock but only by straightening your back. From “imperarer.” It means “to command.” Perhaps you will reckon with the water and wood but these are deviations, figuring your fearfulness. In case you have not noticed, this sentence does have a subject. Dip the oars into the water and this may make you wonder, do we know what a body can do? It is written as (you). The water is already moving and (you) will face the world backwards with the sun in your eyes. Take a fix on land, reckoning, knowing that language itself is never not moving. Place your hands properly, thumbs over the ends of the oars, each a comma marking a pause, and align your knuckles with each blade, these points a pair of ellipses designating a place of return and return and return and push away from your belly, push away with an ease of release, and with your hands firm dip the oars into the water behind you, perpendicular with your oars and not too deep because you are reading the surface and sensing its tension. If you are here for capture, if for authority, divest: there is no easy capture nor authority and you are not here to track a logical conclusion. Pull your hands toward (you) finding the physicality of your own language, then circle them down finding the body of each line, then away, making circles in reverse as everything will be done in reverse because to do this forwards will only move you backyard, plowing through the water with the widest part of the stern. To move with grace you must travel blindly and with trust, feeling yourself forward. The subject is you, but it is called “you understood.” There will be wind and waves and tide and these will change minute by minute. There will be pulsations in vibration with the universe all around you. Can you begin to read the language of the water? Search the trees for signs, try to recall the moon and its phase, waxing or waning. Fashion each sentence to spin from the last. All this will shape your procedures of analysis. Make backward circles with your hands, your wrist swiveling the oars. At the farthest edge of your circle, twist the oar flat, parallel to the water, and slice the air by moving the oar back again, then feather it into water. Study the eddies spiraling away behind you and then strike the water with one oar to remember to honor the inarticulate .