Opening Letters to the World

Dizzy this morning. Waking again in a shirt so damp it borders on wet. Oh, these growing pains. I remember when growing pains were the deep throbs behind a breast bud, an ache in the femur that felt like the sharp edge of cold.

Now there is the ache in the femur that is the sharp edge of cold, a deep throb likely a straining bubble of panic. A night sweat: a who-knows-what. Don’t google it.

I remember when taking a nap meant crying. And here we are again.

Since I have stopped worrying about the truth of the details and focused on letting the memories surface as they will (still half-submerged, like the Loch Ness monster, more suggestion than shape), my sleep has been crowded with sensual details. Mostly from the desert.

Cinder block, a metal slide at noon, a scraped and weeping knee – the wound full of sand. Dry heat filling the lungs. My lungs. My knee. My fingers running over the porous, snagging surface of the cinder block wall.

There are slots in the decorative blocks, like hotel key shelves – or like letterboxes – in an old movie, but there’s no one to slip a note to.

I got through my childhood not having been bit by a snake. Not having been stung by a wasp. Not having been thrown into the back of a windowless van and driven out of state. I’m thinking of childhood fears and how one of these things is not like the others.

The devil you know is always less frightening than the one you might conjure. What if someone did read a letter? Where would that lead?

A small desert spider scuttles back into her burrow. A blanket fort. A sliding, mirrored-door closet filled with unopened letters.

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