It’s never neat and tidy. It doesn’t feel comfortable in clothes. While it hurts, it doesn’t hurt in the typical way but is heavy and low and pulling, like roots — not pleasant but real and necessary and satisfying.

It doesn’t ask permission, it just comes.

It doesn’t always flow. It also trickles and gushes and clots.

It’s strangely comforting although isolating: it doesn’t want you to socialize or be around people but you’re amenable to that because it whispers secrets of your ancestors and you want to hear them even though, no matter how much time you sacrifice to it, you never feel like you actually do.

It isn’t subtle: it will force you into confrontation with your preoccupations and addictions and you will feel powerless to resist.

It won’t succumb to your predictions, even though it will hold a rhythm, but a rhythm it changes as it pleases.

It will never sympathize with you for what it costs you. Instead, it will come and go with entitlement and indifference.

It won’t let you be lazy, for as much as it will tire you, but will push you to the outer reaches of your range and make you extend it even wider out.

It will not worry about reality. In fact, it will ignore altogether the connections expected to be found in reality but will still — somehow, magically — keep an internally consistent coherence.

Whether you know it or not, it will never hate you. And although it feels like stabbing sometimes, it will love you very much because you are its conduit. You will not be conscious of this, but you will feel its heavy certainty and that will drive your (sometimes, seemingly insane) loyalty.

Its relationship to the phases of the moon will be apparent but fickle and, as always, unpredictable with any certainty.

Similarly, it won’t always have the same effect on your libido: sometimes it will make you want to mount anything and other times it will make you want nothing near you, least of all another person.

It will not like for you to be trivial. Instead, it will lead you inevitably, whether you like it or not, to the larger questions of meaning and existence.

Not out of malice but because it requires your vulnerability, it will make you cry without knowing why.

Never will it settle for falling flat. It will insist on being like a volcano when it comes: bubbling with heat and scalding your insides.

When it isn’t upon you, its absence will be enough of a presence to keep you devoted to its wiles. But it won’t ever be about trickery or craftiness (though you may sometimes think so) because it’s a part of you as deeply and necessarily as blood.

It won’t compromise but will take over your body and your body will be culpable for its actions during possession.

It won’t remind you of anything in particular but will remind you of everything all at once, both animal and spiritual.

When it comes, you won’t mistake it for anything else.

It won’t thank you for your time though you will always use your time to attend to it, no matter what.

All the pain and the blood and the sweat and the tears, even the relief and the joy — they’re not it. They’re mere byproducts of what’s behind it: something naked eyes can never see. Something sub-microscopic. Pure potential, undivided, with the power to grow into things alive and unimagined and never before seen.

Elizabeth Earley holds an MFA in Fiction from Antioch University Los Angeles. Her stories and essays have appeared in Time Out Magazine, The Chicago Reader, Geek Magazine, Outside Magazine, Gnome Magazine, and Hyper Text Magazine. Her fiction has appeared in The Windy City Times Literary Supplement, Hayden’s Ferry Review, The First Line Magazine, Fugue, Hair Trigger, and Glimmer Train among other publications. Her debut novel, A MAP OF EVERYTHING, is forthcoming in the spring of 2014 from Jaded Ibis Press.