by Greta Moran
You left Oregon to wave a semiconductor through the night air
in search of God, as you were meant to do,
and I cried for a week straight until loneliness
cemented into my bones, and felt right.
We parted our softness to make rooms for each other, a room
for every new shape we decided to robe. You never once
demanded that I stay in one form.
I know your presence more than your anatomy:
there are clefts of you that are soft as messaline,
shards of you that are durable as tungsten, infernos
and paradises that hold you at your center.
Half of your movements occur underground.
Your voice never arrives cleanly, snagging
on the rusty ledges of your throat, where every
sentence is weighed and protracted by darkness,
rarely overturned by your tongue.
Who would not want to believe in
the certainty of a list. Who would not
want to believe in their promises
of delivering us all from our blindered 20’s,
our restless twitches, our endless consuming
with no return.
It is like how when I was little, in church,
I would push around the Eucharist in my mouth,
trying to convince myself that it tasted just like flesh,
a sort of nourishment that could only be granted
by that still heavy with living.
How real I wanted it to be.
How real I wanted everything to be.
How badly I wanted to be saved just by sticking
out my tongue to accept a wafer.
So for a moment I take the lists at their word.
I believe the one that says
every twenty-something should travel,
imagining this means there is a time limit
to unlearning the size of my own walls,
that my possibilities are slowly being engulfed.
I can only throw water on my future for so long, better hurry.
But I also know to never love a traveler under 30,
for she will never stop traveling, which I imagine
as a girl in perpetual motion, and somewhere,
perhaps the Isle of Skye, she finds God
in a bowl of earth, windswept and silken green
and converts to a life without me.
So, I am left, unknowing if I should stay or leave.
And if there a time limit to love? Does love age as skin,
like my future, becoming less pliable,
less able to heal without leaving a mark?
The way buildings divide a landscape,
turning soft land into gridlock,
most things do not divide neatly,
Lists are not hospitable to those off-hand hours
when light falls from the kitchen window,
onto the face of someone you love, still ironed in sleep,
to marginalia, to memories that cloud your vision
when in the dark, to all the questions
unresolved by bullet points.
A Room of Vibrating Throats
Perhaps you are sitting with friends you have known a long time, slowly lifting your mouths in turn, releasing words so they run back and forth like slow currents merging. And then suddenly it happens: your words come to a halt.
The world is pealed of all sense and proportion. You become aware of the mouth as a cold mechanism, moving the way a deft magician turns over a deck of cards: by device, not magic. To see reality distilled into parts is fatal. A room of vibrating throats.
All you see is endless mouthing. Everyone’s tongues are comets, trails of motion, projections of light long gone. This is something like a mitosis from reality, you feel the splitting of your cells from the world, a parting that feels biologically propelled, beyond your control.
You wonder if you can think your way back, or if thinking is the instrument of your disassociation. And then something, a lulling glance, or a familiar flick of a wrist, pulls you back into the current. And everything regains its proper weight.