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.
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.
I’m sorry I can’t fix everything
I can’t put the world back together
because the pieces are magnetic
but both negitive
pushing away from each other
refusing to touch
This is the world I live in
a world that spins
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
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.
“You should come inside.”
He didn’t move. “I am inside.”
“Inside the house.”
“People have been asking where you are.”
“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.”
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?
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.
Maybe someday I will wake up and the words will be there.
They will come easily. I will open my mouth and I will speak the things I see and feel and wish for.
My thoughts are loud whispers in my head. I do not know how to not hear them, but they are silent to the rest of the world.
Maybe someday my thoughts will learn how to reach my mouth. I will talk and people will hear. I will become audible.
Someday I will become used to the sound of my own voice.
But until then…
I will write.