Thursday, December 29, 2022

Winter Light

In the early thin, pale part of the day (we can't just call it morning, can we?)

my ghosts surrounded me. Today. Not only today but-- today.

I was sleeping (or rather, trying to and failing), turning over, avoiding the thoughts--
circling in my head of loss, some decades old. Restlessness found me, flung me against the gray light creeping into the window. 

There was the college roommate, responding to a flyer with Queen Elizabeth's face, and sharing
Indian food with me for the first time (with a coupon pulled out of one of those books we used to buy). Her sadness filled too much space.

My mother, of course smoking a cigarette, drinking her coffee with a few cubes of ice
(because she wanted to drink it now, dammit, and it was too hot). A thing that makes so much sense, now that I am older and less patient. 

My sister, annoyed to be here, arranging her plate so that none of the food
touched each other, and then systematically emptying it one item at a time. I wanted to ask her if she had been ready, was afraid, a lot, of the answer. 

My niece, silent, way too soon, because she is definitely not ready to talk about it yet.

My grandmother wasn't there because she definitely has better things to do in the morning,
although she's probably somewhere turning on the heat, feeding cats swarming around her feet. She is somewhere else calling them beggars and laughing at their yowling. 

I would say my father was there but he never really was, was he? 

Another father, the "in-law," who was part of my life for so much longer and in a much more
"there" way, would have wanted to take a drive, munching on chocolate, singing along with the radio. Snapping his fingers, he had places to go. 

Unlike the ghosts in mythology, they did not linger, pale versions of themselves seeking out heat, seeking out a little blood so they could sip life again for a moment, called back from the greyness of whatever is there when we aren't dreaming (or failing to dream). There were no pleas to bring back messages. The only message there was, I guess-- the memory of a warning of life being a loaded gun-

until it no longer is--

KAW December 22 

(partly inspired by Emily Dickinson's poems, There's a Certain Slant of Light and My Life Had Stood)