The Disappearance of Later

It may seem as if I am not paying attention. Privilege and politics and fourth(?)-wave feminism. Race and religion and ravaged culture. I’m listening and digesting. The time it takes. Long walks pushing 45 pounds of child around this graceful city. Discovering snowdrops, crocuses. Waiting for daffodils. Looking into faces and wondering. Inspiration sparking under heel strike.

All our hearts are sore. Those of us who carry our hearts in hand-knit bags, recycled sweaters, silk pouches instead of safe inside ribcages where they belong. How do we translate rawness into a button-click? A screen-tap? Thumb-frenzy of reaction in case we are too late. Move past, move on, cycle back. Accept this short attention span as the present and future.

But. You see. I can’t. Keep up. My voice. Does not. Work. That way.

Fluidity is hooks pulling loop after loop of events, creating textures implied in cakes of yarn. Latent lace until we step back to look. All at once. This everything of our lives. My voice rests in the gap between the fibres. It waits its turn and never says what it means.

Where do you keep your muses?

Thirty-seven years old, happily married, mother of two. And still holding one imaginary lover.

The first one is the best. Cherished and remolded over the years; pressed through playdoh; sketched stickfigure-esque again and again, never quite the same, but always mine imperfect.

Once upon a time, we told stories about love, abstract and cerebral, coded in longing—crack me, hear me, believe me, stay stay stay—unbidden forbidden wordplay flirtation.

His skin is walking around somewhere without me, unregrettably. I keep the part of his soul I created, and let it sweep my hair back in any breeze.

Men with(out) Restraint

All my life, my consent has remained. Fully within my body. Yes, boundaries bent in non-verbal wanderings. But respected inside the please-do-please-don’t tension of sexual exploration. These men (these boys!) with mossy, growly laughs catching on vocal folds resentful of release. I cavorted unviolated, as if the murky entitlement of masculinity could not catch me.

This should be my right. Instead of misplaced gratitude to former lovers. Accept my acrid thanks for preserving my faith in you.

Am I so rare? Fear instilled statistically. 1 in 4, 1 in 4 women. But how many men perpetuate this caution? 0 for 10, these men of mine, too small a sample to extrapolate. Did they—in obscure corners, with other women—remove restraint and break into bodies half-closed and uncertain?

Survey, please: would you, given time/opportunity/immunity, make her take it all?

Tipping Point

If this isolation has any purpose, perhaps it is to force these hands to transcribe something. Anything. Unconnected or unrelated, but present. A frenzy of phrases tumbling around my feet. Come to order. I’ll pen them in.