sometimes in the fall

Sometimes in the fall, unarticulated, the shop-worn longing for another set of cutlery across the table, his body on the chair, his voice ringing through the glassware in the approaching standstill of cold November. Sometimes in the now, the interruptions of what was, what could have been, what could be, and what will, the stark awareness of no certainty. So when he said, “not yet,” we both of us knew it meant not “soon,” or “maybe someday,” or ever, or even if we were talking about the same thing, for there always are evasions and obfuscations, such that language may suffice, when it has gone out of fashion to speak directly one’s mind, for fear the words would bruise or muddy, tumbling out of one’s mouth. There is, instead, so much guessing, of what he means when he tilts his head just so, or leans sideways with his hands clasped and forearms shaking, or responds with a laugh to a tearful litany, or leaves without a word of goodbye. Sometimes in the evenings, I think of what it means to unlearn distance and solitude, and tremble at the thought, at the prospect of pining, of the space that absence leaves and the place the one left revisits, like the tip of a tongue in the gap of a missing tooth. Sometimes in the unravelling, I think about beginnings, and marvel at the indirections paths could take, the indiscretions we never make, for fear of fear. Once, I dove into the sea from a high cliff without knowing how to swim, counting on someone to keep me from drowning. Now I meditate upon the drapery, a deep sea-blue, drawn over windows to keep light out.

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