Tonight is my last night in Brisbane for a while. Robbie and I have spent the past week here, falling asleep together in my old bedroom. We haven’t had much time to ourselves, because I scheduled us so tightly. I wanted him to meet all the important people, for them to meet him, and we mostly managed it. We had a day each with my dad and mum, and they were both really nice days in their own ways. Dad has been good, or better. It’s hard because he asks about mum and you can hear in his voice that he misses her, wants to know how she is, what’s she doing, but I’m trying more now to not tell him. Mum doesn’t ask about him. We went through baby photos together today so she could have some of me and my sister. She started crying when she said goodbye to me, and I didn’t think I would but I started crying, too. I will only get to see her once more before she moves. And maybe it’s because Robbie’s been here with me, that I don’t need to go to get back to him, but it’s the first time in a long time that my heart’s been hard about leaving.
Waking up early this morning at Robbie’s house. Two huge great danes greeting us, ice on our cars. The small routine of putting the heater on, some water, the both of us silent as we scraped our own windows. He drove to work and I drove home, and everything was a beautiful mysterious silver. The brown mountains in the distance, a massive flock of cockatoos flying across the road. Other life to make you feel alive.
Sometimes when I am not feeling very good Robbie will rub his fingers very gently between my eyes and down the bridge of my nose. He says, “This is how you put kittens and puppies to sleep.”
My mother is going to move back to Scotland. I was the first in the family she told - I called her last night, trying to do the right thing, making sure I listen to both sides. She cried when I told her I just wanted her to be happy, that it was hard because it meant dad wasn’t, but that she deserved it. Everything has changed very quickly and it is hard to know what to feel. Afterwards I called my sister to tell her and then felt bad, asked if I shouldn’t have, how she felt. She kind of paused and then said, “I feel… emotionless. And hungry.” Which is pretty much it, really.
I called my dad today. It was one of the worst and hardest things. He broke down halfway through our conversation, held the phone away from his face. Before the divorce I had seen him cry twice in my life. He has always been so quiet. Thinking of stories of him from when he was younger. How he got a passionfruit cake one year for his birthday, but cried because he was afraid of the seeds. How my grandma was late picking him up from school one day and he thought she’d forgotten him, how she found him sitting on the stairs in the rain, in his yellow hat and raincoat, sobbing.
Sorrow walked in my clothes before I did. Flocks
of shadows followed me. One night I looked at the stars
I thought were gods until they disappeared. Some say
I smashed my father’s idols and walked away.
Or walked towards a desert of barren promises.
Or promises that are hummingbirds hovering for
a moment then drifting away. Even now, walking
towards that mountain, sometimes I will watch
my shadow sitting beneath a plane tree, casting dice,
ignoring my steps. Some of you made me a founder
but it was only that shadow. Some of you made me
your father, but it was yourselves you were describing.
You plant a tree, you dig a well, and it brings life,
that’s all. Everything else is the heart’s mirage.
Except what begins inside you. Except Sarah.
When she stepped inside my dream the curtains
shivered, whole mountains entered the room.
It always seemed a question of which love to honor.
The land I loved fills with fire. Who should we listen to?
It’s true, He offered the world and I offered only
myself. But I thought His words were coffins. I was
frantic for any scrap of shade. Now everything is
shade. Your old newspapers are taken up by the wind
like pairs of broken wings. Each window, each door is
a wound. One track erases another track. One bomb.
One rock, one rubber bullet. What can I tell you?
Where have you left your own morning of promises?
You remember Isaac, maybe Ishmael, but not the love
that led me there. Not Sarah. Just to hear the sound
of her eyelids opening, or her plants pushing the air
aside as they reach for the sun, twilight filling
her fingers like fruit. This afternoon a flock of doves
settled on my porch. Their silence took the shape
of all I ever wanted to say. Today, the miracle
you want aches inside the trees. Why believe
anything except what is unbelievable? I never
thought of it as a trial, not any of it. Now the leaves
turn into messages that are simply impossible to read.
The roots turn into roads as they break through
the surface. How can I even know what I mean?
Beneath the hem of night the rain falls asleep
on the grass. We have to turn into each other.
One heart inside the other’s heart. One love. One word.
Inside us, our shadows will walk into water,
the water will walk into the sky. Blind. Faithful.
Inside us the music turns into a flock of birds.
Theirs is a song whose promise we must believe
the way the moon believes the earth, the fire believes
the wood, that is, for no reason, for no reason at all.
Starting a volunteering gig with the animal shelter next weekend! I got walked around today, shown the cattery where I will be helping out. When I was giving my details to the receptionist she was saying how it would be kitten season soon. Last night Robbie and I lay in bed going through herbs and spices and then foods that would be good pet names. He wants a little fat kitten called Squash. My favourites- Paprika, Granola, Sesame.
Because there is no principle of love,
you and I ride horses to a curve in the lake.
Because we are ever-expanding cosmic bodies,
but do not understand physics,
my horse will be named Dakota, and yours
Chip, and when he bends his head to drink,
the forces of memory and dark energy
erupt from the water like cattails. When we say love,
we only know how for a few moments.
And keep insisting on different versions
of the same story. Chaos, or better,
the original emptiness, is always a constant.
One horse bellows and the other answers
with a clip of her shoe
on a nearby stone. Because suffering
is difficult to define, the lake is this blue
only once. The horses toss the reins from their necks.
They have been here a long time,
and know only the old ways.
When we return home, we keep trying different ways
to feel the same. And the old sun sets on the stables.
The stable man lies down beside his wife.
They hear hooves that kick against stable doors.
And she cannot sleep without that sound.
— jenny molberg
Our Many Never Endings
You entered the bedroom and fell to your knees.
I wait the rest of my life to hear you say, I made a mistake.
Inside my chest, a mangle.
Inside yours, a deflating balloon.
You took the vacuum cleaner, the ironing board, the dish rack
and left me some lint, an iron to scorch shirts, one chipped plate.
I would like to say at least we perfected
entrances and exits, like professional stage actors
honing their craft, but even that’s a fantasy.
Mostly on TV the lions ate the hyenas
but sometimes the hyenas
formed a posse, and tore a lion up.
Occasionally you came in out of the rain
and I was glad to have you.
- Courtney Queeney