He tells me that the vertical drop of Shoshone falls is greater than that of Niagara Falls and that Hells Canyon is deeper than the Grand Canyon. Little points of pride for a place that has felt like both the promise land and an inescapable inevitable for nearly the last decade of my life. Why is it that I can remember things like this but forget so easily what you said over breakfast?
There are questions I ask over and over again; statements I repeat to friends as they lose love or move towns. The writing on the walls of my life like little epitaphs. This is one of them: who am I going to be next and what work do I owe her right now? If I stare at the ocean long enough I can imagine a life at sea. He shows me photograph of a woman who has lived on her boat sailing the world for her entire adult life, no plans to take to the land. Sometimes I think about this while I fall asleep.
This morning I woke up with thought that I am as still as a glass of water. The fear comes like the sickness at the strangest of moments. I cried the other day and watched a field mouse out the window of the car dip in and out of the red dirt. Out in Utah the canyons rise from the valley in every direction, blood orange and nearly biblical in their stature. I cannot find another word for it and I have tried. There is a full worm moon. A plate of tomatoes cut near a campfire. A picture of you and I. In the picture I am standing in my underwear under the moon as it rises and I am laughing. You are just barely there and yet, you are. It crosses my mind while I watch the field mouse that even when I am alone, I am never alone.
I spent an entire day sitting in the warm sun with a cold wind at the base of a red rock canyon and wrote letters I haven’t had a mind enough to write for months. It felt nice to see words again, however slowly they were made.
I mean to write you a poem a day but they quickly turn into notes or questions, or a promise to one day go to Tanzania. I do not know who either of us will be. But I feel for one of the first times in my life tethered to something unshakeable, and I wonder if this is how those live who have faith. A small and unshakable calm at the center of your life, as still as a glass of water on your nightstand first thing in the morning.
There is a point I am trying to make or something I am trying to point at.
If I could tell you about right now I would say this:
I sleep with the bedroom door open
so I might not forget where I am.
In the early morning the ocean is a
moody grey blue like it doesn’t want to
be looked at too closely. Like even the
sea wants it’s alone time.
My mind has never once been quiet
even if it is calm.
He tells me I worry too much
without having to tell me.
I collect seashells in the morning
and roast tomatillos for lunch.
I sit in the sun even when I am not supposed to.
I hardly know what I am trying to say,
only that it must be said.