“It often happens that we count our days, as if the act of measurement made us some kind of promise. But really, this is like hoisting a harness onto an invisible horse.”
– Maggie Nelson, Bluets
Well then: Take what you must.
The rain clouds have dispersed and so we walk after dinner as darkness falls.
Only the lighthouse with its shining glass cabin still catches the luminous rays that slice in from the western horizon.
Take this: The minaret rising from the courtyard of the building into the azure evening sky.
The truth is we did not come out here to talk of battle. Of the so-called fields of honor.
Or of glass beads strung on a necklace – one and another and another.
Or the house next door, abandoned for so long now inhabited. A dog, kept in the basement, barking late into the night.
We count the days. We speak by telephone.
A string of pearls. A silver bracelet.
I wept until I aged myself.
We stood on the rocks and looked out over the water: How great a distance from where we began – thousands of miles – through ravines, gorges, and valleys; across ridges and slopes and drifts; along the edges of great forests and wastes of rock and shale and snow.
Apricot sky. Shading our eyes with our hands against a dazzling sun. Take this: There is nothing I would withhold.
Though I am told I can be distant. Though I am told I pull away when I fear I have come too close.
A ridge of bone on the back of my skull, an aching there. I don’t remember striking it but when I press it feels bruised, as if the memory held there is tender, the vision of the men who went down with their ship, gesticulating on the afterdeck as the flames encircled them.
There are times when I sense quite clearly, the earth’s slow turning into the dark.
Take me if you must: Take rooftop and crossbeam. Take copper pipe and bone. Take bird and canvas bag. Take this blue. This deepest blue.
When we reached the beach at last, you spread a blue tarp and we knelt on it. We thought we saw people in the distance, approaching, but the truth is, we could not possibly have made out human figures this far from where we began.