You Are Here

Before my appointment in November, I bought Ben and Jerry’s because I had a feeling.

My pre-emptive grief started to gather, turning into words and then sentences.

I wrote, “I’m too familiar with what forced neutrality looks like on an ultrasound tech’s face,”

Wrote, “I’m too familiar with what happens next,”

Wrote, “the orange bottle of pills meant to help my body expel a failed dream.”

I wrote and wrote and wrote and then I held my breath.

But the tech’s face had nothing to hide and my doctor tossed a casual, “looks good” over his shoulder as if I hadn’t packed a suitcase full of grief.

I’m still unpacking that suitcase, still afraid my anxiety might be intuition, afraid too much joy will lead to a sorrow too expansive.

But you, my Lennon girl, are kicking my ribs and pushing against my lungs. You are here, at least for now, but hopefully to stay, and I am telling myself to stop missing things before I have to. The sun will set, but still it touches my skin.

So, I’ll delete the “for nows,”, stop cowering beneath a blanket of caveats, and whisper: you are here, you are here, you are here, my girl, and I love you.

in heaven

the sons tear up and don’t avoid eye contact with their dads/ the dads are tearing up too/ Sarah McLachlan doesn’t play across sad advertisements because no one needs to be tricked into empathy/ the animals are okay and no one is an orphan/ there’s a new brand of comedy special because trauma jokes can’t exist without trauma/ everyone gets enough sleep and you can only find eye cream in books or museums next to the faded diet advertisements and political pamphlets/ the clouds play Kendrick Lamar/ no one remembers what the word calories means/ babies grow up thinking mom means love and dad means love and awake means love/ and abandonment sounds like a made up word


Two days ago, I woke up with a sob, lashes wet with tears. It was only a dream- a nightmare- but my bones are still holding onto the grief, the breath-stopping fear of seeing my sons body dragged from the water. Even now, I don’t want to put the image on paper. Don’t want to shine light on my worst fear, that thing that would undo me completely.

I was late for work today because my son woke up as I was leaving and begged me to stay, to sit by him on the couch just for a little. When I finally left, I pictured explaining to admin that I was late because of a dream. I was late because my son was still alive and I needed to witness his breath. I pictured explaining that I might be late again tomorrow if I find more breath to witness. Won’t be here at all if there isn’t.

All that Comes

Today I don’t feel tired and the queasiness is a distant wave.

Today the sun hit my disco light and lit up my room with glowing bits of hope.

Today my alarm, and not my anxiety, woke me up.

Today, hope feels possible and happiness feels almost easy.

But yesterday, yesterday-

The best parts of my day were those when I was asleep.

Yesterday, everything made me sick- my body, the gray sky, election results, the way coffee smelled.

Yesterday was a pile of moments tipping toward despair. I had to remind my cheeks and lips how to smile and didn’t bother reminding my eyes.

But yesterday has become today and will soon be tomorrow.

All the comes will fade to memory. When moments are hard, don’t carve the sorrow into your skin, but let it slip like sand through your fingers. And when the sun hits the disco ball, hold the light like a quivering butterfly, for moments are here and then gone.

No feeling is final.

That Summer

What if that summer hadn’t smelled of antiseptic and hospital food? What if that summer hadn’t sounded like held breath and the constant and varied beeping of life-sustaining machines? What if that summer hadn’t taught me to fear phone calls and love and losing? What if that summer had let my body house joy instead of sorrow?

What if I hadn’t been left with emotional fault lines and bone-deep grief?

What if I was still the girl before, untethered to the crushing after?

Bite Size Fiction

It’s the leaves they first notice- swiss cheese holes through them all, like poison rain residue. Horticulture experts gather, brows furrowed, and begin testing samples. But soon the grass begins to whither- everywhere, almost overnight- strong blades turning brown and brittle. Next, the flowers lose their petals, lost pieces swirling across cement. The sky begins to dim on a Thursday, is brown by Sunday night.

The news shows image after image and offers no explanation. For once, pundits simply shake their heads. No one, anywhere, seems to know what to do. No one knows what to say.

Is it the air? The soil? Is anywhere safe? How long before the crops all whither with the grass?

People instinctively close their windows.

Doors stay shut.

It has arrived- the beginning. Or the end.