That quiver at the corners of her lips, that nervous tick, quickly covered, that first hint of an expression only squinting eyes can see, spends as much time simply being as considering what its purpose might be.
That uneasy moment once begun, so quickly undone – but never truly undone – is enough for me to know that with every word she speaks, her silences grow, filling in the sound with silence, our conversations with ghosts, our intimate moments so quickly coated in dust and comments unsaid that it is quickly becoming impossible to read the parts of us still unread.
“The swiftest horse cannot overtake a word once spoken”
– Chinese Proverb
Be wary what leaves your lips in anger or in passion, for by fractions those words fashion your reality – for better or for worse, for worse or for better. Not a thing can be unaffected that is touched by these words once spoken.
Once silence is irreparably broken it can never be repaired without scars and you can never unmake words, Not with the swiftest or surest hand, Nor the tightest fist, Nor with the softest kisses laid across ears that cannot un-hear your words.
The heart heals itself like skin, suturing along its frayed lines, each stitch creating new scars so that even in health there remain traces of brokenness, faceless faces, stitched together smiles, a hollow reflection of what was once beautiful with eyes that will never look at you the same again.
A word once spoken does not collapse in the desert, bone tired and sweat drowned, nor does it cry out, legs mangled under the weight of racing the universe, chest heaving. It rises like hot air, borne from the earth into the clouds to rain a harsh and toxic rain over unsuspecting heads while you sit watching the rain in the distance, knowing what you have done.
We are born with legs unequipped to ferry us through life and eyes drawn everywhere and nowhere taking in nothing and everything – lost in wonder and the joys of forgetting.
There were no beginnings and endings then and yet when we grow we cannot help but remark at how time flew by in a flurry of endings as our legs grew long, aching under the strain of pulling us skyward against the pull of the dirt we were born from crawled over walked on and will eventually return to.
Our backs slowly cave through our chest cavities under a gravity that 10 million years of history could not grow our spines strong enough to overcome.
We are born dying seeking whys and wondering at meanings, giving words to feelings and puzzling at the space between words, the emptiness between syllables growing within our chests until it becomes infinite, leaving us gasping for breaths, our backs bending through the soil and all our willows weeping.
Cherish each step on your unsteady legs and love your endings and beginnings, until you forget them completely and dwell in the woes and joys that exist beyond meaning in the spaces where forgetting and remembering merge, in the spaces where age and youth lose all meaning, in the spaces between your toes where the gravity presses the dirt against your bare skin, and you remember everything you once forgot.
The longest sunset pours over the world’s edges like a waterfall.
The horizon tries in vain to wrap its golden-yellow arms around every inch of the globe, dipping its hands in as many oceans and running its hands along the sides of as many mountains as it can reach. Even on this day, the other side of the mountain remains out of reach and the ocean only gives up some of its depths to horizon hands.
The shadows lengthen under the spectrum sunset in contradiction.
The shadows pace further from their homes on that day than on any other, their feet borne beyond the safety of their usual haunts, as if taunting the sunset at its inability to destroy the darkness. Even the shortest, the weakest, the brightest of nights is announced by the darkest of shadows. While the ground melts into nothingness, the sky is on fire.
Look up at the fire as though there is nothing else – to know you’re alive.
There is no contradiction more stark than time, which points its arrow along a single axis, bearing us, helpless, into the future while its timelines are mired with multitudes, contradictions, fateful encounters and chance happenings that abandon axes all together, operating in the vast expanse between coherence and truth.
How can I explain time without explaining its in-explicability? Time, in all its linearity, constantly rewrites itself, for in each moment, we overwrite the truths of the past with the truths of the present, re-crafting the world in our memory into something inexplicably new.
Memory knows nothing of the past. It is an invention of the present, a clever liar, a wraith passing by our window in the dead of night, bringing beautiful falsehoods disguised in the veil of truth, truths that smile at us with familiar faces we have never seen before.
We look backward to look forward, our necks bending to the past, straining against the moment, our eyes inventing the images that we will share with our children when we have finally shaped them into truths.