Writing About the Body, Day 11
“I contain multitudes…” — Walt Whitman
I contain fat-free yogurt and strawberries and blueberries. I contain half a bad veggie burger and some steamed corn that used to be frozen. I contain hot fudge. I contain the Tuesday night I almost died. I contain those days before Christmas when I was hit by a car. I contain corneas with a tendency to develop cracks. I contain my father’s voice not saying “I love you” right up till the end. I contain Lisinopril and Spiriva and Advair and Singulair and Zyrtec and and Nasonex. I contain the nurse from the insurance company insisting I must have COPD. I contain the man who stopped his car last week to ask for my number. I contain the bag of clothes in my closet I used to fit into last summer. I contain ice cream. And pizza. And donuts. I contain guilt. And shame. And anger. I contain wonder. And joy. And laughter. I contain the small trenches where my teeth used to be. And eye tissue from someone dead at least 15 years now. And alveoli that are perpetually petulant. I contain a great singing voice that can no longer easily find its way out. I contain the lyrics to Patsy Cline’s Crazy and the opening lines of Glen Hansard’s “Once.” I don’t know you but I want you all the more for that. I contain longing for skin against skin, mouth against mouth, kindness against grief. I contain Walt Whitman and Frida Kahlo and poor sad Mrs. Woolf down by the riverbank again. And the wrinkling neck of every courtesan Colette ever mourned in her pages. I contain ink. I contain pencils and their pink and willing erasers. I contain the clack and clack of fingers against keys: typewriter, piano, house. I contain each night I sobbed into the piano alone in the house some lucky afternoons. I contain each day I sobbed into the cold arms of the radiator as I curled myself into the hollow between it and the pink wall. I contain too many glasses of booze and not enough glasses of water and a map drawn so that a very fat boy could find his way home to me. I contain windows and doors and hallways. I contain lockboxes and safes and secret slits cut into the sides of mattresses. I contain Athena, Aphrodite, and Atalanta. I contain slings and arrows and always a single bullet in a single gun. I contain sorrow and the time after sorrow and the beautiful strong phoenix self that knows no other way but to persist.