Friday, July 8, 2011


"Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost." --Luke 15: 8-9

The strings in my heart are unraveling, whatever was knitted there is falling apart. Each small thread is a hope undone, but the material--like all matter in the universe--stays. What will it sew itself into next? What new forms can I thread together? If I'm really going to give up all old ideas about who I am, do I even know what possibilities exist yet?

Where next, what next? I ask God. I ask, "Please, take me where you want me to be."

Yesterday was a particularly good day in terms of the recent heartbreak. Today, not so good. The hurt is a bunch of jagged stones in my chest, heavy and clanking against each other when I try to move, even when I breathe.

When I was a child, I used to collect rocks. It was rather a compulsion. I felt the need to pick up every rock I saw walking home from school--I'd stow each in my lunchpail. I knew it was a problem, so I created strategies to limit the number of rocks I brought home every day. For example, one day I chose one rock and kicked it all the way home. The pain I encountered leaving the others on the ground was acute.

Let's say there's five stones in my chest right now. Each represents a particular hope I had about the recent romance with X-man. I take them out and place them on the table in front of me. One is an unwritten song. One is unmade raw vegan lasagna. One is our next kiss. One, a paddle-boat ride. One, next Sunday's shared worship.

I take the stones to the kitchen sink, soaking them in hot water, scrubbing them with the scrub brush and soap, trying to let all hope go, into water, down the drain, back to the ocean where it belongs. And then I slip myself down the drain. I want to plunge into the ocean all of a sudden, with no skirting the shore. I want to swim with all of possibility--the ones I've washed down there and ones I've never thought of. I want to live the question, "Now what?" and I also want to live the question, "What lives in the rooms of my heart?" "What color should I paint the walls of its entranceway?" "What will I keep in the fruit bowl on the table in the dining room of my heart?"

I wear a fancy dress to mop and clean after the recent disaster in the house in my chest. I pick up the pieces, the rocks, the fallen items, straighten the crooked paintings. I create order after the whirlwind, the short tornado."

What next? I've asked. While waiting, or, in answer, I sweep. I sweep. I never don't need to sweep.

"It's a long day since last night.
Give me space. I need
floors. Wash the floors, Lorine!--
wash clothes! Weed."

--Lorine Niedecker

I'm clearing away space, to find what's been lost, possibilities that haven't yet occurred to me. You are invited to the discovery party.

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