Writing About My Father, Day 26
The sky is deep blue and cloudy. The air is crisp but not bitter, and all the way down Sligo to the 7-11 (for ice cream and ginger ale), I can smell the fireplaces hidden behind frosted panes. Nights like this, when it is quiet except for the electric buzz of light through windows and half-paned doors always remind me of the winter I spent in Provincetown, when sometimes I would wander home from a night out with my fellow writers and artists singing to the streetlights. In the poem I wrote about one such night, I wondered, “Did something in me break or was it fixed?” I think that as I have been writing these past 25 days, that it’s been a little of both. And for that I am thankful. For whatever alchemy lies between the act of breaking, the act of fixing, or, more accurately healing. And I am grateful, also, for all of you who have been with me for these 26 days, and for those of you who were there before, and for those of you who will linger on holding me up long after.
Did it really start when I sang Billie to
the streetlights on Pearl Street?
Was it at the front door with my key in the lock
that I realized I filled the spaces? Was it the shuffle
of painted toes on the front steps that showed me
how to curl myself into the gap of silence?
I don’t know what flipped the switch.
Did something in me break or was it fixed?
She looks the same. The right hand hovers
over the diaphragm, prays forth the vibrato.
Eyes clamp shut afraid of what else
her mouth is spinning with the sharps.
She pictures the music spuming from her head
to fill the corners of the room, her pores bleeding
autobiography. The song in her expands. Tongue
pushes teeth, chords start their incantation
calling rhythm from the air. Notes stain
her tongue a tattoo of grief and burning.