Oh, what the hell.
I’ve been thinking a lot about coming home, about coming back, about returning to things that I love, that revolve around me, the stars in my orbit, mercury in retrograde. Gathering pears in the dark. Squatted on my heels in the grass, the night-crickets in the warm air, the traffic light changing, city as a humid garden, gelato melting in my backpack. What is home? I feel it. I feel like I’m home. I put the hard pears in my backpack, reach up, clutch the pear bough in the dark, shake it. I expect pears to fall from the sky, to land on my head, to come wheeling out of the darkness, spinning slowly in space, and they do- and I can see them, just barely, on the sidewalk, in the light from the walk signal. I’d run into Kristi a moment before, at the end of the block, headed to the corner store for some coors light. We high-fived and I thought of recognizing people at a distance, the silhouettes of my friends, would I know them, how unaccustomed we are to all the different ways our bodies look in the dark, from far away. The shadows cast by our hair. The palms of our hands. I’ve been thinking about art, I’ve been thinking about food. I wonder if I’ll walk through all my life wanting a home, if that’s the thing that propels me. Always thinking it’s just around the bend, and that hunger keeps me going. I feel like a three-legged dog. I wonder if a three-legged dog is more beautiful than a four-legged dog. I wonder if there are even any four-legged dogs, anywhere. I wonder if anything is whole, unbroken, four-legged anymore. I wonder if that is too much to ask. I want to cite Annie Dillard, to you, on this one, she goes on about the torn leaves of alder trees, the ragged wings of moths. Summer is old. But I gave the Alaska copy of my holy book to Emmit when she set off up the Yukon river with twenty-seven pounds of trail mix, and my battered Portland copy is in the basement of the Sassy Shack, in a box with knick-knacks whose sentimental value has long since expired and would, most likely, depress me, gathering spiders.
Tomorrow I go south to the redwood forest for forty-eight hours and the only food I could think to buy was mineral water, cheese popcorn, sardines, and grapefruit juice. It doesn’t matter. I’ve forgotten how to shop at anyplace but the Fred Meyer in Fairbanks but it doesn’t matter.
I miss things that I never had- unbroken blocks of time, a green-eyed lion, home.
I moved into my sublet today, unpacked my boxes and bags, rolled up my button-downs and stuffed them into drawers. The sunlight grew thicker, congealed, burned golden across the yard, just barely missed me, I lit a stick of cedar incense, stuck it in the doorframe.
Trying to make one place feel like home is hard enough, trying to make two feel like home will liquefy the cells of your heart from the inside out and blind you with love and hunger.
I walk at night and gather yellow pears.