Friday, May 11, 2012

Loss is sound without word

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.


  1. beautiful... 'the thickening of life'?

  2. Replies
    1. Out of need comes good things at times. Thanks.

  3. I am so sorry I am behind on reading your blog and missed this one. From all you've said, your mother was a remarkable woman. Sounds like she continues at your side.

    1. Yes, I imagine she is. I hadn't looked at this again until now. Thanks for that.


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