I do not remember these things
— they remember me,
not as child or woman but as their last excuse
to stay, not wholly to die.
~ Janet Frame's "The Place"
The shuffling and banging together of poems has quieted, the slipping almost stopped. As I piece together these bits of thoughts that I call poems, they make all kinds of racket ("a systematised element of organized crime," Wikipedia ;) New threads emerge, old ones seem raveled and frayed. Being home has been like this. Settling back into an old life that no longer exists, dusting, baking, finding new homes for things from my most recent past life, missing things and people.
How to talk (briefly) about my own manuscript. Today is my niece's fourth birthday and I feel like I just met her two weeks ago. It's true, they grow up so fast. I didn't go to her party. Blame geography, the dog's dislike of children, this manuscript. But I am thinking of her. I am thinking of finding the stars uncountable with her in her back yard the day after Christmas, the playhouse lamp beckoning, bedtime fast approaching. The old chair in my kitchen that would look great in her room. I am thinking about helping her play Pac Man on her mother's iPhone. I am thinking of my sister and wondering how she does it all... so well.
These poems are certainly for them. Old love stories. Thresholds. I am thinking of Elizabeth Bishop's take on lost things. Dickenson's advice on telling the truth. Adrienne Rich's words on all the little lies we tell. These poems are certainly for them, too. There are airplanes and linens, manicures and landscapes. There is furniture. Even love. This is me, closing a chapter. There is nothing left to do but begin again. And vacuum up the pine needles. And put this manuscript in the mail.
Here's a video to hold you over.