Thursday, November 13, 2008

A slightly less-garbled edit of something I wrote in the middle of the night several years ago,

when in a not-so-happy place, when with a person I was beginning to suspect I deserved better than. I found it fairly recently on a water-stained, wrinkled chunk of legal pad that had made it from the East Village through Brooklyn and San Diego to my life now, and sort of liked it, and messed around a bit with it to neaten it.

I do remember writing this, now that I see it again on its jagged piece of yellow pad. I remember getting up in the middle of the night because I couldn't sleep because I couldn't get comfortable because I felt afraid to move away from said ex-person in case he interpreted that movement as some sort of evidence of infidelity. I remember I was sad; he had probably said some unkind words and while I still struggled to understand them he had fallen soundly asleep, as though lulled by the knowledge that my heart was more broken, again. I remember falling restlessly into half-sleeps and dreaming, or thinking, or both, of my mother, and of how her family fled China. I don't actually know how old she was when they left her home, but I know she was young enough to be a child who went where her family went and old enough to remember. I remember finally giving up on sleep and climbing as quietly as I could out of the loft bed that we shared, the bed that his rage eventually broke one day towards the end of us, and writing because I couldn't think of any other way to feel less lonesome.

dragon dream

the man who sleeps there at my side
breathes like a dragon while he sleeps.
i lie, the dragon's dog, and try to keep
as still as will allow this night:

this night, full of dreams, like:
my mother, twelve years old, ready to drown
in honest grief for scores of pretty gowns
that must be left behind.

soldiers, faces indifferent as plates
will cut the gowns into useful squares.

man sails into the stratosphere
but i, seated tight on center-Earth
cheated of a place of birth
i am the only dragon here.

Reading that today, I am so grateful for the happiness in my life, for the changes that have come about, for the people that helped me on my path to this place, for the lessons I have learned. Never again will I take for granted self-sovereignty, strength, an easy day, the kind of love that redeems and cradles you. Thank God or whomever it is running things that I have landed back in myself and have, again, the chance to turn to the cool side of the pillow, one night at a time.

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