There was a beginning to this conversation, but I’ve forgotten. How it started went something like hands hovering above sundown and ended with the kind of line that can’t be drawn between two points. There was connection, but not the way you sang it. And I am here waiting for the chorus of a song I can’t hum the tune of.
I’ve forgotten you. That’s what it comes down to.
I’ve made up memories to remember you by but I can’t play out what never comes. And you didn’t. You didn’t come home. Didn’t write. Didn’t whisper to me across galaxies after you were gone. You said you would.
This is not the continuum you promised. Father, I wish there was a way home. I wish there was a country big enough for a border, an entry-way. A secret passage. There’s not.
There’s a line I trace around my heart like the wings I drew onto stick-figure butterflies. There’s the reflecting light of flight. I can see you in my eyes if I stare long enough. I try not to. I’d hate to meet you here, now, in this body I’ve finally grown into.
Instead I focus on the ending. The last line. The way your voice faded in and out of heartsong, thirteen years before you died. You were dead already. You told me. It had to be so.
I tried to keep you alive. To give you a middle. To make you a character. To put you in my story.
I’ve failed as a writer. You know that. Deep down. We both know.
I’ve lost my voice. I don’t have the volume to carry you, can’t hear well enough to harmonize with the night. Tonight, I wish you would tell me the story of the morning I was born. Tell me again how I grabbed your finger instead of hers. Explain to me why.
Explain to me how it’s possible for the sun to go down before it has risen. Teach me how to connect the dots between love and hatred, beginnings and endings, here and gone.
Originally published December 9, 2010