I am lost

Each Sound
by Dorianne Laux

Beginnings are brutal, like this accident
of stars colliding, mute explosions
of colorful gases, the mist and dust
that would become our bodies
hurling through black holes, rising,
muck ridden, from pits of tar and clay.
Back then it was easy to have teeth,
claw our ways into the trees — it was
accepted, the monkeys loved us, sat
on their red asses clapping and laughing.
We’ve forgotten the luxury of dumbness,
how once we crouched naked on an outcrop
of rock, the moon huge and untouched
above us, speechless. Now we talk
about everything, incessantly,
our moans and grunts turned on a spit
into warm vowels and elegant consonants.
We say plethora, demitasse, ozone and love.
We think we know what each sound means.
There are times when something so joyous
or so horrible happens our only response
is an intake of breath, and then
we’re back at the truth of it,
that ball of life expanding
and exploding on impact, our heads,
our chest, filled with that first
unspeakable light.


There was a kiss that tasted like reëntry, the sky hitting the brakes with a roar, that blazing, intimate acceptance of a spacecraft into atmosphere, every unlikely angle, one head tilting to another, a scorched, soft light jet-stream wish to return home. History made and slammed back like a shotgun round. A promise on the wing, the ground salted, memories buried. The cast lines up, takes a bow, walks off stage, and leaves their shadows behind as the curtain falls, and it tasted like hello as well as goodbye. My apartment is choked with memories, my neighborhood is a cemetery, same as the highway south, much like my life.

He asked for my writing once, to permanently tattoo, something short, beautiful, meaningful. “Between our hands, we could have made fire”. To the death, he said, to the guttering of the sun. (The next one, he gave me nothing I have not been able to give back.) In the archives, our shared love, deliberate and valiant, a blazing comet made of fiercely bared skin, and the small delicate jewelry we wore in our ears, drops of garnet dipped in silver, lost but unforgotten. I send him a message just after midnight, from a number he doesn’t know: I am still wearing your name at the base of my breath.

on and on until I disappear in a breathing flash of light

Originally uploaded by Agnieszka.

At the end of a tunnel, there is a violent expulsion of air from the lungs. It’s my wish, escaping.

Alone tonight, my place in front of the computer feels both familiar and strange. The people I used to contact right now, in this sort of moment, they’re sort of inaccessible now. Relationships have shifted, contacts have changed. The reliable returned to the garden to breed some more, and my seeds are still waiting for the summer that I didn’t get to happen. Any minute now, I’ll be speeding toward a time of year the door opens and I answer the phone without feeling distracted by particles of over bit-mapped romance, but that minute is sixty seconds away and a week and a month and tomorrow. We all know that tomorrow is a trick question to a six year old, why should I be any different? My life playing on a theme, obviously I haven’t learned all there is to learn of this configuration. With all balance, there is flow. Especially flown in for me, an entire year.

In my head, I see a girl with her hair wild above her, like fire crackling. Her eyes are barely open. Her hands are flat in her lap and the ominous piano wires from the ceiling are only connected to the very base of each of the legs of the wooden chair she sits in, not to her bones. Her feet are crossed, her toes are pointed, as if she’s remembering the crucifix. Her clear plastic skin reminds me of candy, cloudy and violet, they used to taste like flowers, but they don’t sell them anymore here. When her eyelids finally slide open, you can smell smoke. Smoke like on the edge of an ocean, late at night and haunting guitar, he used to love me, that boy, what went wrong, his name is written in the song that’s playing closer to the fire, the gold of her hair is glinting off the body of the machine.

When I use the word “ex” as a label, I, too, think of marriages, and don’t apply it to four in the morning when my tongue speaks a language I didn’t think I knew and he rolls over and touches me, warm hands sweeping my hair out of my eyes, telling me that I’m just as important to him as I ever thought I was, but right now is separation. When morning comes, we will be comfortable, but we won’t wear that ring anymore. Instead our story will be that of something akin to lovers but not quite. A salty breeze of underneath my thighs and in between my hating what he did to me, hating myself for continuing to let him mean something to me. A thickly spoken need he coats our every solitary moment with, a dream of pretending that I didn’t break at his ethical funeral. When I use the word “ex”, I mean to describe the man who never went a week without wearing the colour red, the man who made me scream out gouts of velvet cloth in bed, who I held hands with for a stretch of time that looks like three years, that looks like a tiny piece of history that made me who I am. We stripped naked once and took pictures in the kiddy pool on our porch, the amused expression on my face is one I haven’t seen since. I still think the neighbors didn’t see. Consequence of fortitude, the man with cello hair and I don’t have anything like that. We never had a marriage, only an impending debt that has yet to be paid. Instead I refer to him as on probation, as unfinished business, as lifting my eyebrows to say he’s yet to keep up with my spit when I want twenty white knuckles.

For a little while, this place might have read like an S.O.S. call. Deaths piling up together, a one hundred foot calm declaration of pain, until everything from early May was a mass grave, covered over by news of the weird and breakthroughs in pretty science. Glitter thrown into the air, obscuring the disease, blowing away whenever the wind pursed chilly lips to smash me into another devastating reef. I would like to think it’s changing. That natural evolution is swinging me back onto my feet, pouring water into the desiccated personality I became over summer. That recent advances in emotional medicine are evident in the words I spill here and understood to be welcome scabs over the profoundly deep well of misery that laps and erodes at my foundations. I’m beginning to taste how I used to be. The line isn’t drawing as thin between me and living, my spirit is finding a way to return from the misery land of departed teeth.