Sitting in a basement…
When my nephew was born I was sitting in the basement writing a letter to that little boy listening to Black Boys on Mopeds wondering what today would bring. Christmas 1991. El Nino. He’s a man now and I am still asking. I wonder where that letter is.
My cousin died under a tractor the winter before and I saw a dead face I’d known for the first unimaginable time. He was a good boy. His color was all wrong. They shaved his mustache and I didn’t recognize him in that tiny room 2 years, 16 hours and 100 mph from the day before.
I took a wrong turn outside my old home town and lost myself south in old songs and mustard fields. I turned north at the next town and drove through the memories until there was nothing else to lose and the rain clouds broke when they carried him to his family.
I watched for death to find me waiting and spent three months in deserts in tents in cars and airplanes so far from anywhere there is snow. Outside open windows on route 66 my hands bent the hot truth between my fingers and past my elbows and stole the dreams of the Wilderness West and my lost generation est. 1969.
“I love my boy and that’s why I’m leaving. I don’t want him to know there’s any such thing as grieving…”
I’m haunted by those days…and the white death that has taken away so many so soon so close to home. Winters come with memories and fill the spaces around the windows with echoes beneath blankets and neighbors’ eyes walking their dogs and I am afraid the ones I love will leave me waiting still and cold with a green blanket under my feet and a clean shave.
I don’t want to write I’m leaving.
“Remember what I told you. If you were of the world they would love you.”