Apéritifs: In the months leading up to the release of our book “A Single Throat Opens,” a collaborative lyric exploration of addiction, Meghan McClure and I will be compiling a playlist pairing songs with new writing to be enjoyed before the main course. Cheers, friends.
Dear Izzy and Sophi,
My mother (baba, as you know her) could never grasp the idea that some of what we’re seeing in the night sky is light from a star already extinct. I wonder if you’d understand if I tried to explain it now. But you’re more interested in seaweed and sandcastles, cheetahs and pandas. We can talk about the stars later. There is still light in the day.
One day you will realize I was someone else, someone less, before I was your father. Even now, while you two sleep, I’m half the person I was while you were awake. I am full of dust-ache and disappearing. It takes you two to swirl me into the air, make of me a dance worth seeing. Otherwise I settle on the chair, make no impact. Otherwise light passes through me; there is nothing concrete to stop it.
You two like torches impossibly bright, it’s only by your illumination I feel visible and warm. As something only made beautiful in relation, proximity. This isn’t sorrow you hear; it’s my ecstasy. Simultaneously, I realize now I was, in my own way, a candle for my parents, a fire passing through them. I never noticed their own twirl and twist, their unique movements until nearly too late. The day is nearly done, the sky darkening.
Maybe this is what we all are. Not dust, but glorious light. Not disappearing but passing through. When my parents think of their parents, eventually when I think of mine, and someday when you think of me and your mother, it’ll all make sense, I promise. The stars, the light, the darkness behind it all, even these stories I had to tell …you’ll understand everything someday.
With all my love always,