I’ve got to come to terms with the fact that I will be afraid every time. The fear is always there. It is not an omen, not a mark on the map telling me to go another way. It is just a faulty compass; the instruments, not the stars.
Things I fear: Phone calls, grocery store check out lines, drop-off and pick-up, requiring assistance of any kind, hitting send, lunch, success, leaving the laundry in the washer too long, failure, burning down the house, observation, medicine, all the things my children will inevitably think and feel about their childhood, running out of gas, parties, invitations, knocking on my door, no one ever inviting me to anything or knocking on my door, vine borers, my husband’s untimely death, stuff stuck to the bottom of my feet, holidays, 4 o’clock, alcoholism, the word publish.
All I have to do is open my computer and write these exact words, press a button, and I’ve done it.
to my studio today. It was exactly as I left it last summer when my brain went dead and the sitter money dried up. I tried to keep my head down, shove the boxes in the corner, but I was pulled into the ghost town, the ghost herself.
I haven’t had a clear thought since April. Tens of thousands of muddy ones tumbling in, but they all have the be washed and polished, sorted by size and weight. Takes forever. Poetry helps. You don’t have to know what you’re thinking to start writing it. Even when you’re done it’s often just a bunch of stones lined up in a mystery you hope someone else solves later and it’s not too embarrassing.
It has been five weeks since the last tiny sliver of Lexapro. I was spared the most terrifying withdrawal side effects. No brain zaps, waking up behind the wheel of the car in strange places with no idea how you got there. Just a very slow, anti-climactic re-entry into consciousness. I can officially spend more hours awake than asleep in a 24 hour period, and far fewer of them are spent crying in the kitchen. But I have awakened under the wet blanket of midsummer. Time is sticky and hot and slow and sounds like cicadas and children who have spilled paint.
I am here, I am well, I am raising children and inking pens and doing stupid things with my body that I really should not. There is plenty of writing being done, but none that wants to be seen when the lights come on. I am here, everything is right here just waiting for my head to clear, waiting for the year to tip toward fall so gravity can take over.
Until then, I am just here in the stands with my box of rocks, breathing chlorine, cheering, moving stuff around.
I woke up wanting the bright light
on my most beautiful parts
but it fell just to the left
just to the left
just to the left
of my most beautiful parts.
To become like a child
like my child
like I was as a child
before I was ruined
spoiled by trying
when I came unaware of the grease on
my dress and the words I did not
when I came gaping and rude
with inappropriate questions and
when I had no reason to think I
would not be satisfied with
when no part of me thought I should not
crawl right in and make myself at
All this time I expected to wake up
standing in the Presence like someone in the know.
I forgot what I was doing.
Never was that the path.
Never was that the promise.