a name, like apples to the sea

We sit in a corner by the window and watch the traffic inch by. Everyone is out tonight, it seems. The restaurant is crowded and loud. L. gets a dish she does not like. It is difficult to hear so we lean in, lean close, raise our voices. Hearing myself nearly shout: I don’t know that this is the way I should be spending my time, you know, in life, lends an absurdity to speaking the sentiment aloud that seems accurate, satisfying.

I feel so adrift, I say. Like I’ve come unmoored.

After, she drives me back to my car and I have trouble remembering where I left it. There, I say pointing, but I see it is not my car as she pulls over. No, there, I say and she turns the car left.

My social worker sends me a name. A name!

What does one do with just a name?

Projects begun, left unfinished. (“Not every poem is finished,” Mary Ruefle says “— one poem is abandoned, another catches fire and is carried away by the wind, which may be an ending, but it is the ending of a poem without an end.”)

Then later, she suggests that perhaps we really only speak one sentence in our lifetime. And that in the best of lives, it begins and ends with love (I love you. I am here with you. Don’t be afraid. Go to sleep now.)

Here is a line I found on a scrap of paper on my desk. It was meant to be the beginning of something:

I drag my apples to the sea and throw them in, one by one.

Meanwhile a friend returns from Korea and brings me a lacquer box. Mother-of-pearl inlay depicting cranes.

It is later that day that the social worker writes with the name.

(Siren call of motherland? Time is running short?)

I read about the intricate and beautiful mating dances of the crane. How they leap into the air and spread their wings wide. How they raise and then dip their beautiful long necks.

If apples are wishes and if the sea rises up to carry them, then yes.

If every unfinished poem is a fragment, a semicolon in the lifelong sentence of love, then yes.

If a single name that was unspoken can now be spoken.

Or if it is carried away by the wind.

Or if a name, its syllables held on the tongue, can be a dance of love, then:

Yes, wishes.Yes, fragments.

Yes, love.