by sophie

say there is a way to be with your stillness and to be a little sad and to still keep moving through the day. it is important to keep the stillness, wherever you find it. write down little words like mica and chisel and tune and crown and pool and stake and cardamom. it is okay to be lonely and to speak to a plant that seems to keep on dying no matter what you do and say to the plant, what’s wrong with you? you have to keep the newspaper clippings your mother sends you, because someday she’ll be gone and these will be somehow more important than the other things she’s left, she took the time after all to believe these were something of the world you’d want to see, took the time with scissors and a stamp and an envelope to send these to you wherever you were living then. if you’ve kept little jars of rocks picked up from different states and they somehow seem no longer worth keeping, just know you’re wrong, and that even keeping the rocks but putting them all together in one place, one jar, this will be wrong too–what matters is the difference between them, the weight you carried from there. it is the same with a ticket stub you’ve left in a jacket that touches your fingers each time you put on the jacket, maybe it’s for winter, maybe it’s something you almost never wear, but keep the ticket where it is, let it rest…

when i moved away from the south, i left only with what my car could carry. i had a little party before i left, tagged everything i didn’t want with a sticker that said how much i’d sell the thing for, and now i don’t know what any of it was, if it would matter to me now. when i moved away from the east, my father sent me a box of my things which never arrived to me, and i don’t miss them, whatever was in the box. if i knew them, perhaps i’d miss them. love goes away sometimes– it’s worst thing, isn’t it? and sometimes it comes back, like missing a step down the staircase in the dark, but still landing solid on one foot — it takes your breath away, landing there, that ground, how you were still balanced, how your body did something your mind didn’t know of, the same way how, when you’ve spent enough time around children, or have a child of your own, you can catch the child mid-air, mid-cry, without knowing your body could do such a thing, could move with such certainty. there’s only a few lovers i’ve ever stopped truly loving, with most, somehow, a little remains, maybe just a memory of loving i’m still fond of. and now, oh little birds, my readers, whoever you are, i tell you in secret that i am inside a love that–what? blooms and sings despite all, just as this week, despite the drought, three colors of roses bloomed in the otherwise barren backyard, and the gardener from next door who speaks barely any english came up behind me when i was hanging laundry and handed me two fruits, cactus fruit, he said, two for you, two for me, and grinnedand when i cut into the bright pink fruits only as big as my palm, there was inside a kind of milky white soft meat, specked with seeds, it looked the way fish eggs do hung gently on seagrass, and when i lifted the meat of the fruit to my mouth, there was nothing i could name it as tasting like, only that it was sweet, only that i thought of the person i love, the way sometimes you always think of the person you love, wishing that they could taste this, see that, feel whatever it is, hear the small music of the child playing piano next door, something that rises in the afternoons despite the traffic, the little practice, little falter, the song beginning and beginning and beginning again…

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