Summer Umbrella

I think I should like an umbrella.

Not the sort that keeps the rain off.

I should like a different sort of umbrella. A summer umbrella.

An umbrella to hold over my head on hot days when the sun is melting down my neck and the air is thick with heat.

An umbrella to hide under when it’s so hot that I don’t want to move.

I should like an umbrella to keep the sun off, but not just that.

I should like an umbrella that would rain on me.

 

Two Perspectives on a Light Bulb

The milky glass is as delicate as a frozen soap bubble. It whispers under my fingertips as they brush against it, reaching for the switch. A smart click. The light comes readily, eager and bright. Without the lampshade there is nothing to stifle it. It beams. The air close by it tastes warm and smooth. The filament crackles almost imperceptibly, like the contented chirping of an insect, so proud and happy in its work. It glows. A thread spun from flame and saturated with liquid sunlight, illuminating its own small world. It guards its surroundings, securing things which would disappear in an instant if not for the bright light painted over them. A loyal and tireless sentinel. So fragile, and yet so strong. Casting its light so far and so freely. It flickers every now and then, winking, just to let me know it’s still watching over everything and keeping the shadows at bay.

The glass is glossy smooth, but I know how sharp and quick to injure it will be if it breaks. And it is so liable to break. So brittle. So fickle. It would give in at the stress of even the slightest impact. Yet the light is strong. A false pretense. A hypocrisy. It is oblivious to its own weakness. The light is harsh, pressing my eyes relentlessly, scouring the room, and refusing to let anything alone. It is impossible to ignore, demanding attention. When I look at it it blinds me, determined I should see nothing but its own glaring white blaze. I can almost hear it mercilessly sucking the energy it needs. I close my eyes and the filament burns through my eyes lids, branding itself on my vision even in my blindness. A faint crackling scraping sound scratches at my ears. Not so much that it hurts- just enough to make me wince. My nose wrinkles against the smell of heat and metal and the light flickers. The bulb is loose. I try to tighten it properly. It burns my fingertips.

Putting the World Back Together

I’m sorry I can’t fix everything

I can’t put the world back together

because the pieces are magnetic

but both negitive

or positive

pushing away from each other

refusing to touch

 

This is the world I live in

a world that spins

or falls

in tight spirals of chaos

like a yo-yo

and I can’t stop it

 

But I’ll do what I can

to help you

to save you

even when I think the yo-yo string is going to snap

and we are never coming back up

 

Even when all I can do is listen

Even when I have nothing to say

no way to reach you with words or thoughts

because you are so beyond me in your pain

 

When I have nothing else

I will give you handfuls of sunshine

 

And maybe we’ll be ok

 

 

 

Greenhouse

She found her brother in the greenhouse.

“What are you doing out here?”

He lay on his back on the floor, staring up at the ceiling.

“I like it out here.”

She glanced around. “What’s to like?”

“I like plants. You know that.”

“There are no plants.”

This was true. They had all been cleared out several weeks ago.

“No,” he admitted. “But if you look straight up, sometimes you think you can almost see them out of the corner of your eye.”

She just stood there, staring down at him.

“You should try it,” he said.

“No, thanks.”

“You should.”

“You should come inside.”

He didn’t move. “I am inside.”

“Inside the house.”

“Why?”

“People have been asking where you are.”

“So?”

“You should come say hi.”

“I’d rather stay here.”

She stood for a moment, then sighed and unlatched the door. “Fine. Stay here with your imaginary plants.”

The door banged closed.

“They’re not imaginary,” he said to the ceiling. “They’re just not here anymore.”

Important Questions

When I sing to the night sky at the top of my lungs, can the stars hear me?

Are moon craters really the holes of giant lunar gophers?

Do trees consider being made into paper the highest honor?

Do books fall in love with their own stories?

Would my dog recognize me if I time traveled to ten years in the future?

Do clocks ever wish they could stop?

Does my reflection ever get bored of looking at me?

 

Will I ever know any of the answers?

 

 

 

Going into Life

I can’t tell you everything. No one can. This world was never meant to be put into simple words. You cannot summarize it. You cannot teach it. The only way to learn is to live. I give you only the few things I have gathered along the way in my life. Only the things which I see now belong to you. There are things which I cannot give you. You would never understand them; I understand them only through the lens of my own life.

I can’t take you there. I can only tell you to go. To listen. To trust and to leap and to let yourself fall. You have been told that falling is a bad thing. A sign of weakness maybe or of failure. Do not listen to the wisdom of the world. They advertise it in flashing lights and shout it from the rooftops over the busy streets True wisdom is quiet and yours alone. You cannot take the wisdom flung out to the masses. Only that which finds you alone in the silence.

To fall is not bad. It is like being lost. Terrifying, yes. But on the other side, when you find yourself on your feet again, you understand things you could never learn from mere words.

So when you hear it whisper in the silence, or feel it tugging gently at your heart, follow. Do not ask whether “this is it”. Do not ask where you are going.

Do not ask others if they feel it. All the world doesn’t find it at once.

When you feel it, it will be yours. So follow and see where it leads you.

I wish you the best in your life.

Forgetting How to Breathe

Sometimes I think I am forgetting how to breathe.

I’m still breathing. I haven’t forgotten so much that I’ve actually stopped, but I don’t breathe like I used to. I’m not quite sure what has changed or how to say it. That it has gotten harder to breathe? I suppose so. But not exactly. Every breath doesn’t take a conscious effort or anything like that. I don’t always notice how hard it is.

I think my breathing has gotten smaller. Maybe that is the difference. Every once in a while I suddenly become aware of the way I’m breathing, and realize that it’s only small wisps of air that I am taking in. My lungs don’t expand fully. When I don’t think about my breathing, I hardly breathe at all. No more than I have to. I’m just barely clinging to the air, not letting it fill me up. My lungs are always half empty.

When I do realize how I am breathing, I try to change it. I try to take deep breaths and let my lungs swell with oxygen. These breaths are deeper, but they’re still not normal. Not the way I used to breathe. I try to let each breath fill me up, but they never quite can. I can’t feel relaxed and breathe in as much as I should. Half way through inhaling I stop taking in air and just hold my breath without meaning to. I try to exhale slowly like I’ve been taught, but the moment I start to exhale, I need to breathe again.

Sometimes I think my lungs have shrunk or collapsed in on themselves.

Sometimes I feel like I can’t really breathe. Not enough.

But it always is enough. Maybe just barely, but it’s enough to keep me going. Enough to carry me to my next shallow breath.