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a peaceful protest

I was 16, and the thought of being forced to mention God as part of the pledge of allegiance was too hypocritical an act for me to play along with. Each day of high school began with this mundane recitation, as most people just stood with their hand jutting from a hip, the other dangling across their chest as they counted out the seconds until they could sit back down. They leaned against desks, and talked through it about what party and where it would be, if there would be a keg or a bonfire in the woods. I recited the words, omitting the "under God" part as a sort of half-baked protest. I was raised to flaunt my family's ramshackle atheism, as a choice of smug pride. We knew better, was the prevailing logic.

But one day, I could not stand and say any of it. It felt so rote, so hollow, so devoid of choice. There was no law that said I was required to say it. I knew this was my right, a form of free speech. My homeroom teacher was a legendary drinker, a trash-talking re…

from plastic cups

I’ve been drinking with the guards again, from plastic cups. There were tiny blue plums from their summer house, soft and mealy. There were meat pies and cucumbers, arranged carefully on paper plates.

I take a long walk home in the dark, across a river. A warm wind begins to blow.

It’s been an impossible few weeks. Living on the rubles in my pocket, staring at the full moon. A plant is dying in my office. I talk to it every day, as more leaves fall quietly to the windowsill.

Winter is coming already. I can feel the warm wet windows, and the pale grey sidewalk. I can see the first snow coming one night. Just a light dusting. Not enough to sled in, or roll into a snowman.

That will come later, after New Year’s Eve.

Comments

brenda said…
my god. m. so poignant and hauntingly beautiful and alive, these meditations on aloneness and love for a child and the coming snows. i've missed you. and am so so sorry it took me so long to catch up. tough times, here, too. which makes for too small and selfish a world. don't stop. i love reading you.

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