I only remember how you used to sit and wait for me because I found pieces of the past on an old hard-drive of mine. I only remember how I was your wife, and you my husband because of art I never knew you made. I only recall forty-thousand words because they shine in front of me. Green on black background.
The same but different from me.
Before tiredness claimed my worked-out brain, I read old passages of mine to compare notes of an older time. Only then did I realize Asher was an asshole who never knew that change was necessary. Brandon was abandoned because Asher was rigid in a fluid world, and Venice put up with that shit instead. Venice grew too late, but Asher was a cut root. For all of them, the world ends too soon.
In other news. Old words call out current problems. You longed for strangers who could only hurt you peripherally, love you accidentally, come in contact with you unintentionally. You loved a city, and that was a poor thing to do. Cities love no-one back and it ate at you.
Asher was a mean-spirit and maybe you, in a peripheral way, saw it, too. I was busy trying to be Brandon and Venice. Neither wise nor changing over time. I was a stone in the forest, one of many my breaking down bike wheels rolled over in the dark.
Why, Portland, did you define so much about those days? And why did the life I lived in you disintegrate when your contours changed?
You are a city and I, too, never should have loved you. I should have learned your bones and travelled your veins, arteries, chambers of your heart muscle. But I never should have wanted, needed, begged for forgiveness or patience from you.
Cold concrete and drenched moss-clotted stones, you were an alien to me in this world. And I clung to your leaf dotted branches in damp autumns and cold frozen winters like a fool. You defined too much of me. But I would learn.
Ashes. A branded scar across my heart. A band of faded love around my wrist. Inky bamboo leaves stretch toward my heart but never make it. Root rot came and claimed those plants fast. But lucky for me, lotus grows best in the mud and bamboo always shoots back up. And I am alive not because of what I am but because of how far I’ve come in toward the light again. Vitamin D is made on my skin in the sun.
The solstice draws close and I am shocked the darkness is over half done. A panic attack in my body, not my brain, marks the starting of the old cycles come back again.
I remember how it felt to live with an edge of being afraid.
I’ll be okay.