scraped empty

When I have said “I love you” I have said
Nothing at all to tell you; I cannot find
Any speech in any country of the mind
Which might inform you whither I have fled.
In saying “I love you” I have gone so far
Away from you, into so strange a land;
You may not find me, may not understand
How I am exiled, driven to a star

Till now deserted. Here I stand about,
Eat, sleep, bewail, feel lonely and explore,
Remember how I loved the world, before,
Tremble in case that memory lets me out.
Islanded here, I wait for you to come —
Waiting the day that exiles you to home.

by Valentine Ackland

Tonight is the first night of Passover.

I am meant to be taking photos today for an art exhibition in New York. I am meant to be doing laundry, looking for work, applying to be an enforcer, editing my belongings, putting more of them for sale, and processing pictures from Seattle and yesterday’s shoot with Shane’s band at the Cultch. I am meant to be showered and dressed and fed. Together, sharp, useful, active. Defined. There are things to do, tasks to conquer, opportunities waiting. Instead it is as if the air itself has thickened until even breathing is an effort. I am suffocating, a captive unhappily complicit with my aching inactivity.

It has been a week of silence. Out of respect for my love, for his dismissal, his vanishing outburst, I did not call for days, even when the wet beauty of thunder and lightning was too much to bear, when it cracked me as open as it did the sky. Even when I felt that all I could possibly desire was his voice kindly speaking my name. Instead I bruised my fingers knocking at his door. Small gifts in my pockets, a snub nosed bottle of imported ginger ale, a tiny square of rich, hard to find chocolate, my hand raised once more to the wood, knuckles swollen into a pale rainbow of purple and blue from repetition, (less painful than the quiet), but to no answer, even when his vehicle was parked in the drive. At home the phone would ring in a quick, beautiful burst, but the numbers were wrong – the wrong people, the wrong names. Outside would be footsteps, car doors slamming, false hope leaping up in my heart like flames. Every night, sleep became farther away.

When Friday slid into Saturday, still without word, it became obvious that the relationship had been abandoned, released into the wild without even the courtesy of goodbye.