By Olivia Farina
A leaf spirals onto the living room floor and there is a thud I cannot place. I hope I am drunk enough that time is trapped here in this hour with me. That I can lay out my limbs and press my left cheek to the floor and appreciate organic matter on vinyl flooring. I let cold creep into my skin and try not to breathe in a way that would oppress me or you or them. Just to breathe should be enough but I don’t want to upset the leaf. I don’t want to upset the leaf and have nothing to stare at. I don’t want to have nothing to stare at. Then I would have to admit that I am empty.
i put my dirty laundry back
into the dryer
and watch it spin
i know that when i take it out it will be warm
but it will still smell of the desperation that
stains the armpits
and taints the groin
there is no method to the way i will organize
and tenderly love this laundry
so it will live to the right of my bed,
stew in its own wretchedness,
and be picked through for something more enticing to wear
but i will always put on the same sweater
tinged with the musk of fear
and the process of sweat
for at least it will be warm
and at least it will not ask me to explain why
a woman who cannot carry
a child still wants to have
children one day.
To the Child I Will Never Have
I have tried to write this many times. Instead I give up and use my hands to make something useful for you, even though I didn’t know it was always meant for you.
You would have had an affinity for blankets, it’s why I start making so many and never get around to finishing them. You would love the weight, just like I do, and I would have covered you in them until you felt secure.
I can see you so well. Holding you on my hip, foreheads pressed together, staring into your eyes. I will wash you in warm water. Soothe you when the world is too much. Try to comfort you like I wanted to be comforted. Make sure you are not afraid to hug.
Why can’t I hold you?
I will teach you to learn from your faults. I hope you will be spared the thrum of anxiety, the ache I have always held in my chest, and the guilt I inherited. That will end with me now, but I wish more than anything you could have had a start.
You would have had such a beautiful mind, I know this for a fact, and I could have helped you through the pitfalls that comes with that, helped you negotiate the delicate dance so your movements were always your own.
Sometimes when I need to be near you, I touch my stomach and press ever so slightly in hopes that you will be able to feel my love. Sometimes I whisper things to you, semi-sweet secrets that I think would make you laugh. Sometimes I sing to you. You have the best taste in music.
When I dream about you, you are laughing. You run ahead of me, knowing so well that I would follow you anywhere, but you always look back to make sure I am behind you. I see you in fields and in cities, in houses and in parks. These places do not exist. I am not as tall as I am in my dreams. You have never laughed.
In my head you inherit the Earth. You are the reason I want to save it, so you may place it in your pocket, so your chosen family will be safe, so you may take them with you everywhere. And when you grow old, older than I am now, I will smile every day and never cry when I miss you, because I know you are in the world and all around me still.
I knew I would have to let you go – I just didn’t know it would be so soon.