The whirring buzz of the air-conditioner in our bedroom window, reminding me of swamp coolers and breeding mosquitoes, closer to the comfort of El Barrio than the hills overrun with expensive-looking, cheaply built houses.
A pint of ice cream in the freezer, because I may prefer it a little melted, but she likes hers frozen, and I love her and she’s working late so that’s easy.
Putting away clean silverware, what was once service for eight or was it twelve dwindled to six plus some mismatched pieces from who-knows-where picked up over the years, maybe accidentally, maybe at a potluck–I got a spoon, someone I never saw again got my salad bowl.
Fighting back, holding in tears, until there is nothing left to fight or to hold, to be held between the sink and the stove, the origin, the inheritance, the chasm, the girl who shot her hand up in class too often, the child under the table tugging, tugging on a pant leg, a dog that growls and snaps unexpectedly when that child gets too close to his bone, and the child, a woman now, stands up and excuses herself.
Do you cry in the kitchen sometimes?
Or sit and watch the moths collect around the light, frantic-looking, vying?
Did you ask someone today, How was your day?
Are you sitting down for this? Who were you with? What did it taste like, the last thing you ate? What was your high point, your low point, your breaking point, your rising? What message do you feel hammered by and ready to smash, taking the hammer into your own two hands and breaking apart myths and stories passed down through generations in your DNA, your very cell-structure?
We say those aren’t our stories, but it isn’t true. They are–and then we can decide. What to keep and when we’re simply through, through living according to the gauges and filters of generation before generation before before and so on and so forth and so. We are bound by long lines of every connect the dot that led us here to this body, this life, this family–and also free. Yes, you heard me. You heard me correctly.
Love is the text saying, I’m tanking. Had to tell someone.
Love is not texting back, but calling instead. I’m here. For you. With.
Let’s try this again: How was your day? Do you have a full set of spoons? Or even one, one spoon, silver or plastic no matter, no matter, it does not matter if your spoon is an heirloom or plastic wrapped in more plastic. Can you use it to eat? Can you feel the ice cream melting on your tongue? It becomes part of you that way. I’m not crazy, trust me, just free-associating and goddamn it’s a relief not to edit or pause, not to censor or make sense at all. Just let it roll, let it rip, don’t stop, don’t hush, don’t disappear, don’t retreat into silence unless it’s self-imposed, chosen.
Then. Breathe. Forget everything you just read. It’s forgettable. Forget everything you learned, that’s a popular imperative. Also: Remember. So many injunctions, assumptions. Do either, or neither. Do both, or just see what happens (my favorite).
Mostly, I am trying to say something. I am speaking. Without speaking. I am writing down stories without telling a single story, and this is maddening and reasonable all at the same time. What’s yours is yours, what’s mine is mine.
The moths. The machine. The ice-cream–gone now. The silverware and the child and the DNA. I’m listening, so tell me: How was your day?