Today as I listened to your words, there was a crunch, a grinding, like your words were gravel. While you talked I thought about fossils– that outside imprint, the rigid swirl, the stone self. And then I thought you should take a long, long swim in the warm ocean. Dunk under the waves. Float. Tread water. But stay out there until your skin puckers and softens, until your eyes sting so much you can’t bear to open them. When you do bring your raw self from the water, you’ll be thoughtful, careful of what you embrace.

What troubles me the more is that I can’t decide if I’m really seeing you or if I’ve just fallen to judgement. Maybe it was the heat and my dread of winter coming. Maybe it was the fact that we met up in what could have been an airport lounge, a place where strangers often sit side by side.


It’s after eight o’clock, the time of night you like to have a snack. Tonight it’s popcorn.  Usually, I say, “Do you want me to make it?”  Usually, you say, “Yes, are you sure?”

But tonight you say, “I know how to make popcorn.”  You say this in defense. You think I judge you incapable. Yes, you have made popcorn hundreds of times. But on an electric stove, in that pan, that thin aluminum pan, the one scarred from the dishwasher soap?

And later, not so much later, I walk to the kitchen, for coffee, for something, the way I make the rounds of this house, checking, but not really aware of checking, that everything is safe. No bumps in the rugs to trip over. No toys slipping into the darkened hallway. No power buttons left on and alone.

You are at your computer doing your computer things and I am looking at that pan with the decorative wooden handle and I am smelling the smoky black of burning grease. I will not take control of this situation. I will not pick up that pan. So I yell to you, “Get that pan out of here!” You get up from your chair, a little confused, but you do as I say. You trust me.

And, you take hold of that decorative wooden handle, walk with it to the back door, right before it bursts into flames, surprising you, surprising the snow where it lands.