Wednesday, February 29, 2012

366 Days* The Tell-Tale Heart

My son imagined out loud what it would be like

if we were forced to squeeze our own hearts

to stay alive.

He quickly decided he would drink

from the Hudson River,

grow himself a third arm that could do the work for him

while he built forts,

slew dragons.

I figure I would just get tired,

bored of the endless motion, pumping again and again.

Eventually I would lose interest in the process

drift off in some other direction

chasing a more amusing destination,

realizing too late my breath had slowed.


* Allison and I are still here, still at it, still chipping away at 366 days. Day sixty today and it feels like a hell of an accomplishment. We have written something every day, even if it's terrible, even if not one word is acceptable or decent or printable. But we have showed up and engaged each other and inspired each other and some days, some days I suck in my breath and feel the hair stand up on the back of my neck and I read her words and think, "THIS. This is why we are here." The guts of life. The dread and the hope. The pain and the pleasure. The absolute mystery of it all. We are writing down our bones. Writing to make it make sense. Writing to save our lives.

Monday, February 13, 2012

366 Days - Fire

My babysitter set herself on fire.

Not while she was watching us,

but years later. When we had already moved.

She was nearly grown up by then,

still lived in the house next to a field of milkweed.

I heard she poured a can of gasoline

over her head,

sat on her bed,

lit a match.

I can imagine the pain.

Not the physical pain,

because who can imagine that?

But the burn of words unspoken

cries for help like kindling,

small twigs and dry leaves, blowing.

Sparks of anguish melting

in the heat of a summer’s day.

Desperation igniting that way.

Sometimes when I smell smoke, I think of her.

Remember the corn

she would pop on the stove,

removing the top

watching two girls clap and twirl

as the snow-white kernels

fell around us like rain.