Thursday, December 29, 2005

run to the bridge

For awhile, I have felt like I have a gunshot wound in my chest.

On the bottom of my left rib cage, maybe--some kind of emptiness, some kind of hollow feeling that is not quite sadness. I'm fine, but there it is, unmistakable absence. Something is gone. I feel it at dinner with my family, the gaps in conversation when I look out into dark. I feel like I am keeping something down. It feels like swallowing all the time.

I feel alone as a writer. Don't get me wrong. I know I am luckier than most; I have a teacher and a workshop, and I am so grateful for them, but I miss history. Everything is new and wobbly.

I saw an old, very special friend, and she said she didn't know how to describe how we knew each other. We were in poetry class together, she said. No, that's not it. It's more than that.

You can't qualify what we are. We just are.

I miss that.

No one knows what I am doing here, alone in my room. No one knows what I am piecing together--most of the time, not even me.

I'm still adrift, though I pretend not to be. I'm floating, sometimes upside down, sometimes right. I was supposed to drive back to the city again, but I couldn't do it. I couldn't make everyone happy, my friends, my parents who ask again and again, Why didn't you stay at your last job in Michigan? That was a good job. Why can't you stay anywhere?

How can you say: my heart was frozen over.

I waited until they left the house. I put on my shoes and ran. It's warm out, spring. I thought the snow in the bushes was a white dog. I was alone but for the wind and the snow and the brown and green grass and the black path and the woodpeckers and on the hill in the distance, the old white farmhouse with sled tracks in front. I watched the house, felt it watching me. I wanted it, felt it wanting me. I resolved, should I ever have money, I will buy that house, for myself, or for my sister.

Should I ever have a baby, I will ask my friend to watch her.

There are all kind of guardians.

The house is watching out for me. My breath is watching out for me. It sounded so beautiful, hard and cold and young. I'll take what I can get, these days. I'll take a farmhouse and a pair of asthmatic lungs.

The man shoveled his driveway by the bike path, and then he shoveled a few feet of asphalt in front of me, nodding. At least that part is clear. I can run around ice, melting puddles, run through them. Water seeps up my legs, but I haven't fallen yet. Run to the clear patch, I told myself to get through. Run to the bridge.

The hole in me? It's stopped bleeding, but it's not a scar. It's open still, a hollow, a well. I will fill it with wind.