Esther

school began, and stacked its days neatly like grocery produce. we took up a love affair with spaghetti squash, twirling tendrils of the farm's majesty about forks, our plates slick with butter. swimming lessons occupied Saturday morning chatter as rolled suits tumbled from discarded towels, forgotten in the week's activities. all in all, a bustling normal, complete with later-than-intended dinners with friends and grandma to the rescue and half-started books and the endless search for front room curtains.

in September, the solstice meant earlier sunsets, and also you died.

I spent my sixteenth summer on a university campus, tickled pink to have been invited to the picky program. a month of fanciful imagining that I was quite grown, attending classes and performances, conjuring visions of the life ahead. I missed a hundred parties and terrible decisions, and when my mother called to tell me of the crash, my heart felt caught. I knew much of Stanislavski and coin laundry machines and finding my neutral, but what I recall most of that summer is the way the tears streaming across my cheeks made a suction at my ear, trapping the phone against my face, shlurping as it pulled away. 

maybe death is like that - a collection of small things like the cold porch, or the distance between the moon and Vietnam, or the exact shade of pink which spread, blotchy, across my weepy round face. because that's all I remember, though I beg the stars to let me hear the melodic mmmmm of your nodding friendship. in the space between my ears, I can perfectly recreate the pitch of your 'yEHs' but it slips through my fingers when I open my eyes. there was a look you gave, a resettling of your body - perpendicular to what irked you - and they did not witness the shift, for they did not hear your heart sighing, and I think it's those silent pieces I cannot shake. the ephemeral essence of you.

speaking of, on Wednesday, a black bird lay lifeless on the porch. still, eyes closed, tucked into itself. I wept on the toilet after baby girl fell asleep, though I imagine three is as good a time as any to know mothers are made of mostly prayers and crumbling rock. it was kind of you to ask God to let me bury a creature, though it took me a full day to get up the courage, and it's soft wings sweeping across the boards as I feebly struggled to scoop it up must've been quite a sight. I think that spot will flower nicely, and maybe I'm braver that I knew, so there's that.

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still. now it is October, and you are still dead, and I suppose I thought it would be different by now.

outside my classroom window, the tall grass blows like cornstalks, all dry yellow and rippled on the stalk. and the world seems much colder and finally honest. as if I know God and the universe and nothing at once, which I suppose has always been true, at least since I birthed a creature from the space beneath my ribs and listened as fairies blew breath into her lungs and fed her with my body and calibrated her heart to my rhythm. funny, how divinity lives in firsts and lasts - breaths, I mean.

and so, anyway, not much else to report, I guess. thinking of getting another cat, or giving away the one we have, or perhaps finally deciding on curtains. perhaps I'll plant our own squash next year, and wait for love in the garden, and listen for your voice on the wind.