I could begin with a broken fingernail.
And sketch the lines towards my heart along the twisting bones and flesh grooved in fishbone patterns, like the mapping of tiny streams flowing towards a sea. Always flowing –
along the knotty veins that rise above the surface, in vulnerable, bruised smudges of charcoal.

The details are sharp, and the shading gives depth and yet, as always, the form of the whole is lost along the way.

Who said that we lose our loves little by little, then all at once? No. I am misremembering and conflating. John Green wrote of falling in love slowly, then all at once. And then someone else wrote of losing their money little by little, then all at once.

Does it matter? I suppose it is our resistance to change that makes the it seem true for so much of our lives.

But I lose at once, and then little by little.
I’ve walked backwards through my life: old before young, guilty before innocent, fragmented before whole.

How will I die, then?

A life drawing instructor told me my problem wasn’t with the details, but with the form as a whole.
A perfect ear.
An expressive curve of an exposed shoulder.
A sensually carved ankel.
An exquisite corpse of entrances and exits like divas jostling for center stage.
An exquisite corpse does not breathe: “Get it together, girl.”

But this long echo of a swansong:
I’m still trying to piece it together: to get it down in diagramed sentences.
“I’ve always loved diagramming sentences.”
Dissecting thoughts.
Making them real.

It makes them comprehensible for a tender bit of heart
muscle that already accepts that everything falls
to pieces, then gathers like so many fishbones
and flows to the sea.

The tomatoes I replanted when they outgrew the greenhouse are now rotting greenly on the vine. I figure there is a metaphor there.

The garden was never cultivated. I never cultivated the garden.

The coriander sprouted – then flowered, and quickly went to seed. The beets were too crowded to thrive, and the sweet potatoes sent shoots where there was no soil in which to land.

I’ve no idea what’s up with the strawberry plants, with their wide, lily pad-like leaves, but no berries.

I’ve brought the angel wing into the house now that the temperatures have dropped below 15C. The perennials are dying. Or going dormant.

The honeysuckle has twined its way far past the trellis I put up in May. It’s choking the thuja, but blooming with such a fragrance that I can’t bring myself to cut it back.

I do have hope. There’s the winter to read, and to learn. And there is something to be said for learning one’s place in the making of things.

Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.


There is a personal grief in private failures, in every missed deadline – every lost hour.
And a communal mourning for every collective dream deferred.

I’ve been meditating on impermanence. I even learned to spell the word correctly. But accepting that things are always in motion is easier than accepting the futility of our determinations with regard to where that motion will take us.

My circle of influence is tiny.

But I smile at the woman I pass in the grocery store and hope there are ripples of influence. Maybe that is all any of us can do. And maybe this is everything?

This, and the daily attention required to cultivate what we plant?

I spent Saturday brooding a mood of discontent.
Fortunately the shell is thin and cracks easily –

I ran in the evening.
And the forest is always a place for sloughing what’s become useless
and for new growth.

We are wild things, after all.

Cultivation is a balancing act.

We have a responsibility to hold to the power of love that we know to be true,
and to not allow the world around us to deaden that in ourselves.


So many thoughts this week. And so little time to write.

It’s been a week of un-braiding the aspects of my life – working out the tangles.

The work, the relationships, the writing. And the assumptions, the expectations, and the goals I’ve half-consciously made for myself – and have taken for granted.

I began thinking about Neil’s comments. About his generosity. About his question, ” When did the sense of intimacy become available without any qualification?”

The deep truth here that – this is what we are all longing for, isn’t it? It is encompassed in that moment before a first kiss: the deep inhalation and the diving-in, opening oneself to the messiness and un-staged reality of intimacy. The moment where everything is at stake and you are only in that moment. Listening. Being. Trusting.

Not evaluating. Not judging. Just giving into the moment.

This thing beyond decorum, beyond language – after all what is language but specific decorum? I know when to say “please” &”thank you”, and when to say “fuck”.

But beyond that, under that surface: we are all body, and instincts, and vulnerabilities.

This body is new to me.

Sometimes it is like greeting a former lover who’s been around the world, and come back smelling of strange perfume, touching you with unfamiliar gestures. There’s a slight inflection when she says your name, and you think it might be an affectation. You hope it is an affectation.

“Just knock it off, will you?”

And you wonder if you ever really knew her at all.

This week I’ve been soft with myself. Trying to will the muscles to ease in my neck and upper back. Trying not to berate myself for not having more strength, more resilience – more sense from sensation.

But my hand fell across my stomach last night.
Just as I was falling asleep.
And I thought, “So soft.”

And I exhaled
and I thought, “So beautiful”.
“This thing that moves me through the world.”
“Through this life.”

And there wasn’t a qualification of any kind.

And I wonder if I’ve ever known my own body intimately
before that moment.