The Sum of Calendars

I am trying to let go of something

–Tracy K. Smith

 

It feels like cold sore body gristle cracked molar memory of sixteen to nineteen

Misshapen elastic mourning its taut, its firm, its locked box casing

It feels like that time you learned Lucille Ball died while on the way to family Thanksgiving or Grandma’s grave or synagogue or some other place that triggered loneliness

You awake from a dream where all your teeth have been replaced with slurs. You try to sound out help or hungry or not now but all that comes out are four letter words bleeped out on the radio

Remember when your body was new. A gift-wrapped holiday. Upright and without all its springs popped. Yesterday, your veins started scratching their way out of each thigh. Morse code of aging. You want to call them beautiful; all that comes out is malnourished spider legs.

You are trying to let go of something. Of every organ which has grown slightly off-kilter. Of your misshapen brain, congealed due to improper adolescence. Of every time your welcome mat was set on fire.

One day, you will go on a bike ride. Your ears will be unplugged, just waiting to surf over wind and traffic. You will notice that your muscles can take you away but also bring you back home. You will lose your breath but something inside you will locate more. You will cry because every time your body moves, it remembers. It remembers. You may howl because sometimes you feel like a cone snail or a saltwater crocodile but you just can’t seem to commit to danger, so you keep pedaling. With every block, you let go. Back there, fingerprints from that time. Three pounds of hair, a partially lobotomized fingernail, some skin ready to flee, spit, all gone. You are something else; you are everything you were; you are nothing from before; you are all of it; the sum of calendars. You are still here. As you check your imaginary rearview window, you can see its blur miles behind you. You really wanted to let go. You were really hoping it wouldn’t follow. So you keep pedaling; you keep panting; you keep pushing your way out of __________ .

One response to “The Sum of Calendars

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