I dream through a wordless, familiar place.
The small boat of the day sails into morning,
past the postman with his modest haul, the full trees
which sound like the sea, leaving my hands free
to remember. Moments of grace. Like this.
Shaken by first love and kissing a wall. Of course.
The dried ink on the palms then ran suddenly wet,
a glistening blue name in each fist. I sit now
in a kind of sly trance, hoping I will not feel me
breathing too close across time. A face to the name. Gone.
The chimes of mothers calling in children
at dusk. Yes. It seems we live in those staggering years
only to haunt them; the vanishing scents
and colours of infinite hours like a melting balloon
in earlier hands. The boredom since.
Memory’s caged bird won’t fly. These days
we are adjectives, nouns. In moments of grace
we were verbs, the secret of poems, talented.
A thin skin lies on the language. We stare
deep in the eyes of strangers, look for the doing words.
Now I smell you peeling an orange in the other room.
Now I take off my watch, let a minute unravel
in my hands, listen and look as I do so,
and mild loss opens my lips like No.
Passing, you kiss the back of my neck. A blessing.
- Carol Ann Duffy
The washing machine is rattling with almost a month's worth of dirty laundry and as I just about purr with contentment at the thought of (finally) clean underwear, I make a mental note to put communal laundry on the agenda for this week's haus meeting. I shovel a slab of dark chocolate of mysterious origins into my mouth and feel my hardcore pms-ing hormones sighing with approval.
There is a warm, blonde human curled up next to me who just taught me how to trust fall on the living room floor because that crucial middle school activity was somehow lost in my own primary education and apparently trust falls are terribly important. We've been binge watching Jamie Oliver circa 2003 complete with spikey hair and silver chains and delicious accent for a significant part of the evening, giggling every time Jamie and I have a colonial English term in common. 'Pet-rol, rub-ber, sar-nie' Giggle giggle.
I have a slow cooker filled with bone broth bubbling on the counter, and my supernaturally cold toes are tucked underneath aforementioned warm, blonde human and I want to melt because this feels so warm and easy and fuzzy and warm and for a few minutes, for this right now- I feel balanced and pretty fucking on-the-ball.
This pottering around the house, lying back as we admire the silence of our Saturday night- it's a much rarer thing than I'd like to admit. I want to hold it close and watch it unravel as we breathe past it. I've been scrolling past all these articles about the terribleness of busyness, the disease of constant preoccupation on my newsfeed recently, and the conversations with friends about intentionality, and mindfulness, and compassion seem to be playing through my life on repeat.
I'm overloading by a significant but not impossible amount this semester, and it has taken the fight out of me. I am terribly busy. I am constantly preoccupied. I am stressed. We are three days away from Thanksgiving break and I am going to have to muster all of my sleepless energy towards making it to this far away Wednesday of my future. I sound more dramatic than I'm willing to admit and trust me when I say that I've never wanted to empty out my mind more- to want to know how to settle for sheer darkness and push out the chaos.
I haven't been home for 7 months today. It's been my longest stretch away and these last two couldn't have crawled by slower. I've found myself getting irrationally and absurdly angry at friends who can just hop into a car and go home. Feeling hurt at other parents coming to visit with casualness and frequency. These are my own choices- these decisions to be independent and stay in the US of A for as long as I have. I chose to spend the summer in Brooklyn, I chose to come back to college, and I chose in many, small, sore ways to stay here through all of it. I chose all of these things, and this life that I am so fulfilled by- and yet I am tired.
So I read and re-read Carol Ann Duffy. I hold onto moments of grace like these. I tell people about my dreams constantly- in all their whimsical, wondrous richness. I find flat walls to fly up into handstands against, ideally more than three times a day. I hold them hard, relishing the suspension, the tussle against gravity. I hold onto memories that used to hurt, the ones that I thought I didn't need anymore. I hold onto the voices on the telephone that seem to grow more and more brittle, less warm and defined. I bike 6 coconuts home from the grocery store every week, I drink them religiously because they are delicious and because they remind me that I am the same person that I used to be 7 months ago. That even though all my other insides have turned themselves inside out, if my coconut consumption was a measurement, I'd be exactly the same as I was before. I throw bowls in the ceramic studio because the more bowls I have, the closer I am to home.
I am getting closer to home,
I am holding onto home,
I am almost home.
and blinking all my big fat baby half-adult tears.