for the absence and to it

It is a familiar question, about belonging. Where do I belong?

I return from ten days away and move among the members of my family – at first like a ghost presence – familiar, remembered, but unreal.

We settle in. The remembered rhythms of our lives together. Time takes shape again, and form.

Are we who we were? Each disruption on the surface rippling out in all directions. Is this who am I now?

Jean Valentine speaks of silences. In a writing life, even years. Her own five years of silence, after which she says she no longer desired to be understood. That is, did not feel the need to give information through her poems. This seems important. About legibility.

What can happen, she asks us, in the silences?

My own years of silence: No epic journey. No pilgrimage. No conclusions to draw, no equations to show how one thing leads to another.       

Here is a hypothesis: A square of light behind her head as she speaks.

Here is a hypothesis: Silence is a kind of waiting. Days of waiting. Years of waiting. A whole lifetime of waiting.

Is this where I belong?

Waiting to return to the white room of the mother’s death. The origins of silence?

On legibility: Wallace Stevens tells us, “The poem must resist the intelligence / Almost successfully.”

What eloquence is there in making marks on the page?

What can happen, bypassing reason?

What ways of knowing do we have access to, beyond discursive?

The way we know things about silence. The way we know something about a thing through its absence.

Perhaps we write for the absence and to it:

Dear silence, dear distant star.

Dear forgotten self.

Dear lost. Dear unraveling. Dear coming undone.

Dear darkest hours.

Dear departed.