Monday, January 10, 2022

Slow Dancing with Emily Dickinson

Everything is behind us now. Back to McGrath for a morning, skimming, closest I got to the poetics of the early twentieth century. What fades, what fails. Walking at midnight to the bridge on Plainfield Road and standing a long time looking down into the water, pretending to see reflected starlight. Slow-dancing with Emily Dickinson, that old dream. Trying to get into the mind of Paul and failing, the evangelical impulse never well-rooted in me, thank Christ. She doesn't laugh when I affect a brogue, knowing more than a little about the man who taught it to me. Cold chicken, apples and cheddar cheese, washed down with ginger ale. Camp coffee, bits of grass floating on the surface, noticing men don't fish it out and so not fishing it out. We are apes. The question of who is noticing you and what they want from you was acute at an early age, unusual for my gender, yet my mother was not really looking at me but at herself a certain way. Medusa is not a monster but a victim of trauma she was not allowed to name. There is this family story in which a water moccasin nearly killed me when I was two or three, everyone tells it and there's only one version (testament to truth), and I even have a memory of the snake shooting out of the ruined foundation towards my ankles, yet something in me insists I was never close to death nor ever will be. Soldiers coming home falling into each other sleeping, the war - well, their war anyway - finally over. Wind chimes. I have some ideas about what's next, you in?

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