a letter for the lonely


I get you. I get brittle finger bones and watching the leaves wave. I get heart palpitations from listening to the local country radio station as I drive. Windows down, hair in knots, sweat on my breast bone. Outside this afternoon the sky is clear for the first time all of August though the fires still burn. The smoke has found itself elsewhere. And it makes it easy to pretend like it’s not happening. Makes it easy to pretend like we didn’t happen. Sometimes I think about what everyone has been saying to me, how I collected them and jarred them all summer, to save in the cellar for winter. There are recipes I’ve learned for ailing the lonely and there is also some sort of church in hanging in there with it. It pickles you for lack of a better metaphor, it sucks things from you and changes your taste and makes you something new and in my experience, something better. But it takes time. It takes a lot of things. 

Lately I am at a loss of what to do with myself, having been kicked out of my own previous confusion. Time has taken up a regular tempo again and it’s all very natural. In the mornings I read poems in my bed with limbs folded in white sheets and watch birds dip in the air through my skylights. And I ride my bike to school and sing at stop lights. And I only think about all of it every few hours, sometimes every few days now. Sometimes I miss being in pain. Write that down and mail it back to me three months ago. Everyone said it gets easier. Everyone was right. 

I found a few blurred images of me from this July. In the photographs I’m rail thin and holding my own elbows. And I can’t remember what I was doing that afternoon other than just getting by. It seems fitting that I would be blurred like I couldn’t sit still for long enough. I’d walk around the grocery store with my hands in fists and chew the inside of my cheek. How taken I was by everything. But now I get it. I get the echo of empty ballrooms and the sound the bike spokes make and playing cats cradle before dinner. I get how seven fifteen in the morning is the loneliest time of day. I get it and so much more. Just remember there is pleasure in slicing lemons.