Tuesday, August 11, 2015


Bluer sky; limestone.
Oaks again: tall ones, pin, white-
but why this red dirt?

Sunday, August 9, 2015


My son has a smattering of words.  It's a strictly curated, though steadily increasing, collection; he amasses and disburses his words carefully, like currency.  His vocabulary takes him places (up, down); it describes his desires (mommy, wawa) or sparksa smile (hi, bye). 

To an even greater extent, his words limn what looms large in his world -a glimpse into the otherwise opaque toddler brain.   My son has 40 words, maybe more, maybe less- and because the set is circumscribed, each individual word takes on greater importance.   Some speak to proximity- Mommy, Daddy, Kitty.  Others to perceptual salience- Ambulance! Airplane!   And some are unfathomable- Button, Elmo.

And coffee. "Coffee, coffee!" my toddler cries, jabbing at the burr grinder, the cups, the beans.  He serves me pretend coffee in a plastic cup, and laughs when I slurp it down.  "Coffee!" he screams, correctly, at church; "coffee" to the travel mug in the car.

I am charmed by this.   I am also sobered.  Our children are ever and irrevocably themselves.  But sometimes, too, they are mirrors-  small, slobbery, fractured reflections of our bean-stained days.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

New new new

The process of settling into a new home is made more complicated when you know you'll leave. After four years of homeowning in Virginia, we're renting for a year in St. Louis- so we'll be here 12 months, maybe less, before having to haul and pack and reacclimate once more.

And so the place-learning process -the divining of the best route from the dresser to the closet, the acclimation to the new angle of the morning sun, the repeated movement of the hand from the tea cupboard to the kettle and back- becomes fraught.

I'll learn the best place to catch the afternoon light- but not for long.  I'll enjoy the porch- but not for long.  I'll tolerate the closet- but not for long.

A sense of impermanence stains things.  It seeps into the manner in which you fall in love, the ways in which you make yourself comfortable- or not.

Impermanence shouldn't do this, of course-  every home, everything, is impermanent. 

But somehow, to love, you need to be able to forget that.  And I can't.  Yet.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015


The sky is almost, but not quite, the right color.   Closer, oh yes- less bone-colored, less bleached- but still not quite the blue I remember rushing into my eyes when I cracked my lids, lying on my back in the grass, the blades of it scraping my skin, the whine of the cicadas lapping against my ears, that fat, wet air.

Though there's something to be said for a near miss.

I'm closer to home, then- but farther, too.  Because this house is not mine, and the things in it, all the cheap furniture I dragged halfway across the country, looks only vaguely familiar crouching in its new corners, and the lamps are broken, and I have no friends.

Moving is a mower-down, a knocker-flat.  You grow a life, let it creep up around you, and then all of a sudden it's scraped to its base.

Yet still, wheeling over you, that sky-

Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Bend in the River

It's been five years, and we're leaving.

Leaving- a word with so many lobes and limbs.

One of these- though it doesn't become obvious until you actually leave, do the deed, pull up stakes, get gone-  is arrival, the way its memory flares up like a rash.

You may not think you remember arriving, but you do, and suddenly it's all over your body.  I remember it was summer then, too, late July, and I was sick to leave -quite literally sick: feverish and puking and late and alone and driving badly.

I was (am?) a terrible driver, dangerously cautious, epically unreliable, trundling up and down the mountains with my heart yammering and the wheel welded to my hands.  I pissed off truck drivers, obeyed every advisory speed limit, missed the exit and missed the exit and finally, finally-  arrived.

Miles up from the river, the crepe myrtle burst from the trees.  There was heat and sweat, mosquitoes and flat, slick sidewalks and a scatter of fireflies drawling their way toward dusk.  Our new home was five rooms, 700 square feet.  Plus a side porch, the joy of the apartment, upon which we perched every evening, swatting our legs and sipping our drinks.

It is idyllic only in hindsight, glowing under the shellac of memory.

And maybe this leaving, too, will seem, in some faraway pass of my life, sweet.

The boxing and and unboxing and the great sloughing off the pieces of your life, bits of your past falling away until you're not sure they happened to you -or if they happened at all.

Until suddenly -or not so suddenly- you're in transit.  Or some facsimile of you is in transit-

because without the hard mold of your former life you can't seem to keep hold on your own outlines; you blur and run and bleed and waver until you're left with a name and a number and a body on its way to-

Sunday, May 24, 2015


To do: So much.  This is different than so much to do- fewer possibilities, more bite.

Friday, May 22, 2015


  • Facebook's new memories feature, in which your past curation of your life comes back to haunt you, is both sobering and intoxicating.  How little we remember -and sloppily.
  • Someone knows what you want to know.  
  • Cafeteria breakfasts, with their panoply of options, alimentary divagations like creeks splitting off from the great ocher river of AM nosh, are where it's at.