Here

I keep thinking I should write something here and then deciding I ought to wait. I have nothing to say, or nothing nice.

I keep thinking I should write something here and then deciding I will wait, because I am not okay and still believe there’s something wrong with that.

“Horrible patience,” Adrienne Rich writes. “This horrible patience which is part of the work.” I’ve never had much of any kind. A child, I couldn’t stop sneaking the chocolates my mother hid in her sock drawer — though I’m not sure that’s a failure of patience so much as appetite, desire. To wait — imagining the foil peeling back, the slight sheen of the sweet first glimpsed — means knowing what you wish will eventually be given

I keep thinking I should write something here but I don’t want to be here, wherever here might be. Here is my narrow desk, the surface stained and scratched, amber in the light of a low black lamp I’ve moved from state to state to country since I was nineteen. Lamp under which I wrote my first poems, under which I wrote my last. Here is a cream-colored page with the ghostliest grey lines as guide, a stave I fill with what feels like noise. No melody to anchor empty space, no nautilus of rhyme uncoiling words I didn’t know I had. Here is the notebook, just slightly damp, the sound of the rain underscoring each stroke, the humid air changing the page, the ink feathered grey along the tail of the y. Wet air, wet ink — here they won’t be kept apart.

And somehow here is also wherever you are, dear Reader, and whether I want to be there I’m unsure as well — I don’t know who you are anymore. You read this on a screen, a semaphore of blue-backed light. Black text against white. You read this while you wait yourself, though for what, today, I have neither will nor courage to imagine.

I keep thinking I should write something here and then deciding I will wait but I can’t stop myself any longer: I want to peel back this gossamer shield, aluminum pressed paper-thin, the tiny music it makes when torn. I want to hold it out to you, a small thing gone slightly soft from the heat of my palm. For years I wrote a letter that I knew would not be read. Impossible, then, to stop, to let the silence fill up when you’re desperate for a response. But months ago I signed my name and sealed the flap, and now — dear Reader, whoever you might be, I don’t know where you are.

Dear Reader, my teeth are aching with it.

Dear Reader, I’ll wait for you under this light.

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