To Begin

The same road is here. The same curves in the pavement snake up the hill. The hill is still here, where holes that have served ants and animals are dug and covered and redug, earthquake after earthquake. The animals, are still here, the sounds of twigs breaking in the distance off the sides of the road. The houses have changed, some are raised up, some have expanded, many are in disrepair

The mailbox is still here, with rusted, stick-on numbers. The air around the mailbox, around the trees, that we cycle in and out of our lungs, is crisp now - for two short months a year and hair-dryer hot the other eleven months. The months are still here, assembled in their unlucky collection of thirteen. The days are still here. The hours pass by minute, the minutes by second, inside the seconds we recall past victories, failings, the tastes of meals and sweat and mouths on our tongues, the memories wake me from my sleep.  

Our faces are still here, though they’ve aged. We’re the lucky ones. I imagine. There is the collected clothing from past summers and the bags that we carry the clothing in. There is a hard drive filled with photos of all those that were there then, or once here, there, all the everywheres we walked along, to gather. The gloves are in the long latch door beneath the sink to protect our skin. We have to keep from drying out completely.

Your voice is still with me. Your voice from a long time ago, full of curiosity and gentleness, it didn’t sound like that all the time, but it is still here, whispering to me against my pillow at night. She is still with me too, brooding and angry and looking always for some sign that you will come back. I have to remind her when she’s in a fit to not look at what has been left. I tell her we must build our world from the things that are still here.

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