I Could Taste it in Their Manes

October 10, 2008:

I saw a pigeon today, fell from a branch right before my eyes. And it’s odd because I was just reading a book about birds. It looked at me, shivering, in shock. I wanted to hold it and wished then for some sort of magical power, something to mend the bones. The bundle of its body thumping with fear, it’s wings suddenly useless. It tilted to one side, swaying toward grass. Held up in the coal of its eye was an innocence, or perhaps it was simply a mirror…and suddenly, I wanted to be laid bare like that. Did you ever feel this raw? How many poems finally pleased you?

I thought about you today. I thought about how we’d probably talk about variations in stone, the color of earth, and how we try to hang our thoughts off of them like hooks. Were your thoughts useless, then? How do you feel about them now? Can you sometimes spot them running between orange groves? I like to think they get caught in children’s hair. Perhaps that sleep-heavy sensation children feel as they lie down is really a collection of thoughts that have no home.

Do passions push up around us? I couldn’t carry all of mine on the train the other day. I had to leave some behind. But I find that this doesn’t matter, because every commuter has enough to share. How can they not see them, lying on their laps, hanging off their coat, sitting beside them in the empty seat. Sometimes I’m tempted to go up them and say “Did you lose something? I’m sorry, did you drop this?” and then kiss them.

I never talked about the lights when I was younger, until Jenny told me that inside a quartz were a million crevices that hid every secret longing you could imagine. Transcription, of course, is different. I tried to write the way bending works, in and out of the stones in my hand. One time, I sent seven down a well, and it rained so hard the horses escaped from the barn. I woke and found them dancing in the rain. This, of course, was their longing. I could taste it in their manes.

I can sometimes feel something you wish to say to me, hovering above me, or just lightly brushing my arm. It’s a duller ache than the sharp missing of a lover. Your beauty, though, still rustles in the tree-tops. It’s like I have to look up to hear your thoughts. And the pigeon fell from the sentences we never spoke to one another. Our disconnect embodied in the failed wings. But I swear, you do fly within me. I hope you hear me say this, type this.

I take a train again tonight. And though I won’t find your words in suitcases in the overhead compartment, you’re constantly falling off the shelves. I know you’d laugh at this image. I know you’d say “Thank you, Shannon, for remembering my name.”

What do we do, then, but write diaries in our heads, all our lives? You probably wrote one, too. And I think, without knowing it, we’re all writing it to one another.

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