Saturday, September 05, 2015


I went into my room and closed the door.  For twenty years.
                                                                    —Susan Gevirtz

Thanksgiving in Saginaw.  I wasn’t in on the boiled squid joke.
A tradition, apparently.  Initiation into the family.  Another

I wasn’t feeling so hot by the time I got to the dancefloor.
Once there, I was completely ignored.  Or almost completely,
except for immediately getting the eye from Y.  That under-
stood you should be flying away by now” look.  But I was
not flying away.  Levitation requires concentration,
among other things.

By the time we left (3:30am), I wasn’t out of it, but I was
most certainly completely over it.  Understanding history,
I ask him if he wants to go directly to sleep, to which he replies:
“Hopefully.”                     So much for the eye in the sky.

Flash forward a decade and a half, let’s say, when I’m still
restless, still upset, “I am lost I am lost.”  Such things often
bounce around in my head as if I still have the eggshell skull
of an adolescent.  I wander aimlessly, imagining aimless a
worthwhile goal.

Why do I do this?  It’s either addition or long division, I’m
not sure.  Addiction or algebra. “I’ve lost it” bounces around
like a stray electron.  And what have I lost? 

Family comes.  Family goes.  I am 37.  I am 47.  I am 57.
My date of birth either coalesces or vanishes.  “Hey, Mom?”
Another echo.  “Hello (person with whom I’ve shared the
billowing clouds of bedroom and hallway for years)!?”

Several decades pass, at least, without any boiled squid.
Thanksgiving arrives and I sit at the table in the sunken
den, the one with all of the kids.  I’ve fucked up the turkey
but I’ve stepped just inside the doorway with a warm pie
of pecan.  Sweet as the dickens, very like the South.

I am greeted like the prodigal.  Or like a great-grandfather’s
last wish.  “What’s your pleasure?” I ask everyone, perhaps
with a latency that doesn’t express the joy that crackles
near the bottom of my throat. “I love you all!” I say,
as I go straight down into the sunken room that is
reserved for those who are the especially alive.