Us, Home

us 8Emily and I read these to each other, back and forth, paragraph to paragraph, on stage two nights ago. Neither of us knew what the other wrote until we heard our words in the room that night. (Emily’s pieces are on the left, mine on the right.)

Feels Like Home

In the natural arc of a human’s life, we define and redefine “home.” At first, it’s the dark wooshy wet womb, ticking around us. We float in the warm saline—perfectly at home with our bodies and our surroundings. Then it’s the skin-smell of our parents, their arms, their wide eyes, their smiles. Then our rooms, our siblings, our beds, our dinner tables. Then maybe continue reading…

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Nature/Nurture

img_3024Will I remember the sun in the morning in November, the sun that barely warms, that lights just enough early to show our grey breath as you softly cough cold air out of your lungs? The leaves old and dead, crunch from decay, crunch from chill. Will I remember the anticipation of winter, the anticipation of spring? The rebirths, the rebirths, the rebirths. The welcoming of our children to a new day. As we await the new lesson, the replenishment of hope, and the fulfillment of our definition—the world as it fills in and adjusts around us, the colors in the continue reading…

Shot

beads 8Across town, a woman waits along the Mississippi River.  In New Orleans it’s about twenty minutes before 1995 turns to 1996, and as she waits, without warning , she is struck in the head by a bullet not intended for her.  She dies shortly thereafter.  The bullet, police find, comes from a gun not fired at anyone in particular but sent directly upwards into the air, likely in a benign gesture of celebration for the coming new year, the person who triggered it probably unaware of its resting point, unaware of the conclusion.  When I hear about this I can’t help but track the bullet in an imagined narrative, a rowdy pistol waving and repeatedly shot, not much different from the way Hollywood portrays post-warring Native Americans, the bullet rapidly moving through the night sky into the continue reading…

Waterland

water 8I grew up in an apartment complex not far west of Chicago under a landing path that routed planes in and out of O’Hare airport.  I was eased daily by the ebb of sound, by the whistle and roar of heavy jets and the mill-thrush churn of propellors from smaller planes.  At the apartment complex we had a pool where I’d watch the planes land, able to tell their breed by their underbelly as they glided overhead.  Sometimes I would float on my back with my ears just below the water surface and listen to the plane noise and the muffle of the water took away nearly every other nearby sound and being left with just the engines made me feel like they were my own, as if we were the only things sharing the world’s space.  The pool was an “L” shape with a deep part and a shallow part and it continue reading…

A Calendar Revisited

March 8March 1984

Eventually, the sky set in a systematic deadening of color, in blues and purples, and the sand cooled around my feet and I was alone. My friends went home long prior and losing the buzz of the sun made me, there with half-buried buckets and grit-scratched trucks, feel even more solitary. I liked the quiet at these times because it felt like the time of day when there should be quiet, when the world packed up and relaxed its shoulders. Intermediately, the stillness would be cut with growls of landing planes and then the quiet would once again come and at some point I would start a countdown from continue reading…