My mother’s favourite cake, orange and almond. The first time I made it was in my parent’s kitchen, and I wrote about boiling the oranges because I was very sad. My boyfriend had moved to England, and I was young and it felt very big and like the end, not just of us but of everything. It’s at least five years later now and my mother is here visiting me before she moves to Scotland, and the cake is made again, and in just over one week she will be gone.
In my dream last night Robbie and I hadn’t met yet, and something felt wrong the whole time.
At work listening to blues songs and not doing work. I’m rewarding myself for every little thing I get done today (“open that document” “make that phone call”) by looking up cute diy projects, new recipes, different ways to grow plants. We’re all on a super tight budget in the house at the moment, so we’ve been brainstorming ways to save money. We’re planning spring backyard picnics, bike rides, planting days. We’ll be moving in January, which means thinking ahead to what we can harvest before then, or take with us. Making lists - strawberries, beetroot, peas, cucumber, capsicum/peppers, basil, thyme.
List of all the rivers, mountains, roads until I find you
Noosa. Brisbane. Mekong Delta. Caboolture. The Thames. Molonglo. Derwent. Cotter.
I have crossed them all. All the rivers I can swim.
Tibrogargan. Tennent. Ainslie. Tambourine.
The day I climbed a mountain without meaning to, and you came to find me. My body hurt for days and you carried me.
It took me so long to learn how to drive.
The Weather Reported
I’m glad the cabin is finished in Cañones.
Did Elud finish the rock wall?
The bedroom facing south?
I was less of a person then, I know.
I was less of a bird then, too.
Do the two streams still run?
The roadrunner? The crane?
Remember the night on the porch: Chinaco and chilies
by the Rio Grande, the cloud that passed over us
in the shape of your face?
We both saw it. You were the weather.
I was moving to you, to the river, but
I was not a morning dove, or a marsh hawk.
I’m sorry that I could not stay. Your name was too big for me,
twice my age—you were still running faster than water.
I moved to the farthest tip of the East,
you sent me binoculars for my bird-watching.
and a bunch of Mexican sage from the bosque.
Santiago, I am my own weather now.
Santiago, I am my own river.
Santiago, I am a better bird for flying.
Sometimes my favourite thing is going to the dog park with Robbie and his dog Sam, taking her for walks, watching him give her a bath. Not only because of how much he loves her which makes me love him even more, but because together I feel like we are a little family.
My dad had to hang up on me today when I called because he was sad and crying. I keep thinking “I don’t want him to be sad anymore” but remember sadness is an important part of what he is going through, and of everything. I think about my daily sadness encounters to make myself feel a bit better, to remind myself of all the sadnesses that people overcome. Like that passage in Everything is Iluminated, the 613 sadnesses that Brod discovered, which was maybe my favourite part of that book, or the most relatable.
"…Sadness of domes[ti]cated birds; Sadness of fini[shi]ng a book; Sadness of remembering; Sadness of forgetting; Anxiety Sadness…INTERPERSONAL SADNESSES: Sadness of being sad in front of one’s parent; Sa[dn]ness of false love; Sadness of love [sic]; Friendship sadness; Sadness of a bad convers[at]ion; Sadness of the could-have-been; Secret sadness….”
Sadness of knowing your father is sad. Sadness of sadness being inevitable. Sadness of helplessness. Sadness of distance. Sadness of not being close enough. Sadness of being a girl and not being able to be inside someone. Sadness of thinking of your cat when you see all other cats. Sadness because of your [reluctance to be happy about your] mother’s happiness. Sadness of Sunday nights. Sadness of age. Sadness of youth and not knowing enough. Sadness of indecision. Sadness of decision(s). Sadness of sleep. Sadness of dreams. Sadness of not dreaming. Sadness of plans that do not go to plan. Sadness of time/not enough time. Sadness of sometimes you don’t even know why.
The Famine of Love
After his mother forbids him to marry Psyche, Cupid puts down his bow and all living things on earth stop mating.First the fruit flies fell around the fruit bowl and the air was still,the figs and apples ripened and then were gone. The end of beesmeans the end of plums and roses, the end of rye and amaranth.Soon, no mice: we noticed their silence after the years of trapsand scratching in the ceilings, no droppings in the flour, no footprintsin the butter. I found an owl dead in a glade. Takes lesstime than you might think for horsefeed to look like foodif there is no food. There are our orchards, there areour fields, empty of hum and buzzing, empty of peachesand wheat. The male swan left the lake, just flew away,and his mate made widening circles over town,honking her grief until we shot her down.The goats stripped every bush of leaves but bore no kids,no cats birthed kittens, no kits for the foxes, no goslings,no grubs, no nymphs, no infants. My son now prefers the emptywoods to the dancing girls—it’s true that they’ve grown bony,and though I go to watch them they don’t stir me. I’m hungry.At the town council we address the issue: how long can we surviveon leaves and boiled bark? Two months, if we eat our seed cornand slaughter our horses. One month if we save some corn,save some horses to try to plant in the spring. My wifeonce rode that horse fifty miles just to see mefor an afternoon. Once she rode over a river in winter,the ice spackled with rabbit tracksand filled with unlucky fish, just to marry me.Once we made love in the garden, under the bean trellis;in our bed we made a child. I make a listof her good qualities. I try to find my love for herin things, wearing the clothes she gave me, readingnotations she left in my books. Re-reading her lettersI think, I’m so hungry I could let you starve.It’s hard to know yourself anymorewhen you can think a thing like that.Some things might outlast this. Tortoises, maybe.But look at them: each grooved to fit smoothly with the other,built to heave those heavy bodies together and lock in.See how his belly is archedto cradle her shell.I keep thinking: I don’t need her.I keep opening the cupboard to find nothing.
I woke up this morning feeling really shitty, because I dreamt about my ex from five years ago. And I get super affected by my dreams - like wake up crying, scratching at myself, can be upset about them the whole day after. I felt like I’d done something wrong for dreaming about a guy I used to love when I am so in love with Robbie? But then I got this text from him: “I had a dream last night that involved me wearing black silk boxers, crashing a wedding at a hotel somewhere where we were sharing a room until my mother encouraged you to bring back your ex boyfriend, who was just so disgustingly attractive so thanks for that, and then I got really angry at you and ran away into the ocean.” And like, even our dreams are in sync and everything feels better now.