“The one thing I can tell you is that you won’t survive for yourself. I know because I would never have come this far. A person who had no one would be well advised to cobble together some passable ghost. Breathe it into being and coax it along with words of love. Offer it each phantom crumb and shield it from harm with your body.” — Cormac McCarthy, The Road


Remind me again why we’re here. That the world owes none of us anything so I breathe in the way you felt in the shower, what it’s like to miss and be missed, the pull of watching your plane fly to a distant continent for the last time. I remember the songs you played and dinner you cooked as I lay surgically blinded in a dark room, and the way you pulled the curtains all those years ago as the afternoon storms rolled in and the pain medication had me hallucinating that the house was definitely and voraciously on fire.

Somewhere there’s a huge black widow crawling down the wall beside you while you tell that long story again, and I only bat my eyelashes asking you to *come sit next to me, sugar* and it’s only a split second that you’re in my arms before you see it and start shaking all over. You hate spiders. You thanked me.

I stay up late tracing my collarbone with the feel of your exhale, when we were new and always late for work and searching for our clothes in the blast radius of our bed. I reach into my pocket and touch the curve of a long-gone toy pony, the one I played with while you sold plasma so I could buy lunch at school. I know you stayed with me all those nights. I remember you combing my hair when you no longer knew who I was. And when you left, I know it was the kindest thing you knew to do at the time.

Thank you for teaching me to love so unconditionally, through all the names we graft onto these things as if we could ever define their tides. Thank you for holding my heart so patiently and well, until the day I realized it was never taken by you at all. It was freely given by me.

Thank you for all this and more. Thank you for all this, despite. Thank you for yes, Thank you for now, And thank you for everything yet to come.



The rain is here and the ground starts to exhale
people go about their business relieved, slightly quieter

And for all our long relationship with the land
the imposing of our limited and short-sighted human ideas
the endless fences
the concept of private property
imaginary lines in the sand
our furtive scrawling of ideas like (nation-state) over the deserts and mountains and plains
the maps we draw
the heartache and division it causes
the miles of concrete and razor wire

The clearcutting
the poisoning of oceans
the slicing clean of mountaintops
the pummeling and manipulation to force the land to yield
bigger faster better
the stripping of nutrients and minerals
of life-giving properties
the fields turned to dust
the shattered shale
the chemicals dumped into clean aquifers in the name of profit

For all these relative microabrasions that add up to one
howling worldwide wound

For all this we still do not control the sky
for all this
for all our clever predictive technology
the greenscreen weather maps
the meteorologist’s glistening dental veneers
the seed clouds
the attempts at papering over this expanse of blue with
slow-trolling airplanes pulling ads for car insurance
for all this
it is still a wild thing
still attempting to set a balance
shake off our cumulative damage
For all this we still have the farmer
the anxious hope
the straining to watch gathering clouds
the pleas and offerings to our various gods throughout millennia
of corn and harvest, water and sky
we still marvel
we still have some shred of wonder at late-season monster tornadoes and seven feet of upstate snow
at something far more powerful than ourselves
and some none-too-gentle reminder we are still so very small.

And for all this, regardless of what it means, I am grateful.