but today is wednesday…

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Condone / Condemn (i dag är det tisdag)

I have no idea what she says, or what tongue she speaks. She doesn’t speak English or Spanish, and that’s all I can muster. I haven’t the slightest idea of what she is up to, out in this perpetual gloom. But she keeps saying: “I dag ar det tisdag, I dag ar det tisdag, I dag ar det tisdag…” 

I must have an odd look on my face because her lower lip quivers and her eyes well up. I don’t know what I can do for her. I offer shelter. She doesn’t understand, just repeats the same thing. I don’t know how to help. I want to help. What is she, ten or eleven years-old? How can she be out here alone? 

So I say “yes!” and give her a big old bear hug.

What else is there to do in this hard-dead world? We once contented ourselves with keeping our families safe and near. Those that were content, maybe had a close circle of friends (some circles were larger than others, some were merely small frayed arcs) — maybe we tithed and volunteered to read or feed others more needy — for some this seemed enough.

But we don’t concern ourselves with the wider world anymore. Is there a world anymore? We’re safe here. It’s all waste out there.

She doesn’t battle this bear hug and she stops speaking. I squeeze to give comfort. She evanesces. Atom by atom all that is left is air.

I’m left at the shelter doorway looking like I’m hugging myself — that is, if anyone were there to look. Who would, who could, in this darkness? I’m alone, wondering why I don’t do this more often. Hug myself.

I go back into the shelter and down the stairs to the writing room. I’m down to a ream of paper, a handful of pens, and two candles… but I must compose some lines…

 

 I.

Did I hear it in a dream?
Or is it a long-distant memory?
I dag är det tisdag

A drooping of the eyelids in a sleepless
Moment
As you fight the sweep
Of darkness
Upon you. Only the whispered
Supplication
From the darkest corner
Of childhood
Releases you from penury.
Peaceful
Sleep never comes.

 

II.

I condone what you done…

In the wimple sun
I slapped away the wattle arm
Of the man that bred
Me to a hardened son.

I agree with your version
Of sublime reparation.

I condone what you done…

 

III.

Condone / Condemn

I dag är det tisdag

 

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“I believe that my gift in this world is not that I’m smarter or more talented than anyone else: it’s that I had a singular goal. I don’t want other stuff: friends, kids, travel. What makes me happy is writing.”

— Ann Patchett

About istsfor manity

i'm a truncated word-person looking for an assemblage of extracted teeth in a tent full of mosquitoes (and currently writing a novel without writing a novel word) and pulling nothing but the difficult out of the top hat while the bunny munches grass in the hallway. you might say: i’m thee asynchronous voice over in search of a film....
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