I’ve heard that from above, the earth is no different than us. Continents shaped from
unrequited shifts and hysterical storms. Borders blurred with what was heaven before
telescopes. All of it an archipelago of scars from innocent collisions with the stars, and
And that what we mean by orbit is a fall. A mercy of near misses and an obedience
to hunger. An obstinance that comes from so many years spent drifting apart after the
fragments of our once-thunderous departure have gathered over us like ghosts and,
slowly, are sainted into holiness.
In that way (the way in which I watch the moon), I still think of you sometimes. Not
wondering whether you’re doing well, or poorly, or wishing either, but in Polaroids.
Those American tourists trick-or-treating during dinner in Honfleur. The way the piano
there played itself. The winter bunching against the porch in Freeport. The wood-creak
of Virginia evenings, and stumbling home drunk from our wine. The elegance of that first
us, and the places we couldn’t put our hands.
And, later, the sadness that grew inward like a radish and punched through the roof of
our hearts, chandeliering there. You biting your lip and brandishing your bitterness over
me like a gun. Me lying about my smoking and wishing to be the kind of person you were
looking for. And for all the psalms I knew, something broke when you drove me to a
restaurant in the suburbs and told me the list of things you wouldn’t forgive. Reciting lines
others laid out for you like an outfit on the importance of being practical, and bragging
about it. Unraveling me, and hoping that would fix something.
There were moments afterward, sometimes on trains, when I was overcome with the
weight of it. When it would perch on my shoulders and speak a great hollowness into
me like a priest, leaving me tongue-stuck and sideways in my seat from some-number-
too-many again and tired of everything that empties us the way love can. Or slumped in
the back of cabs beneath streetlights learning whatever word means rigid acceptance of
the tectonics that take us, scraping, toward some equally meaningless Ecclesiastes. Some
other blindness, and some new wonder.
I’m writing this to say I still have no word for you. Or the darkness that sometimes fills
me. Or the indifference. And that this great beauty that I am falling through finds me, for
a moment, lying on my back beneath the deepening silence that once filled us too. That
there is still a reflection of us above me, the distance giving it shape. My pendulum thumb
sometimes covering it, sometimes not.