|Am I Blue? (Self Portrait, 2008.)|
It's always later, well past beginning with grief--as if the topography has been changed and you have not been notified.
The familiar, less so.
The sounds from beyond the open window, a hallow tin.
May 11 is a difficult date and by extension, often a difficult day. 12 years ago my mom died. There is simply no way to soften that truth.
Loss is sound without word.
It's me driving unsure of how I have arrived at a place I don't recognize, for an interview I don't want and passing through it as if the room was a sea. The tiny table where we sit so beautifully round, like a geometric proof I can't quite solve. There are always limits and I hear myself uttering poorly what is expected to be said and I think even I don't believe me.
And later on the drive home I'm stuck in traffic for thirty minutes knowing that the slowdown is a road repair with one lane access. And I am oddly content to sit in the familiar where utterances and decisions aren't required.
When my mom died, a friend told me that the pain would subside and would resurface. Too true, for grief is never a matter of subtraction, of balance. The tally of years means nothing.
When I get home, I do the laundry, placing each item from the washer to the drier--just so--as if concentration on the ordinary will resettle my breath, produce a badge that says, "I'm competent."
Later I read a bit from John McPhee about plate tectonics: "In the middle Mesozoic, as the Atlantic opens, the North American lithosphere, like a great rug, begins to slide west, abutting, for the most part, the Pacific Plate. A rug sliding across a room will crumple up against the far wall" (p.384).
On days like this I take slight solace in having been told that even the poles wander. Nothing living holds still, even mythological centers, even grief. Sometime next week I will have tucked this grief up like a little ball so very very small that the unsettled balance I carry will hardly show.