After another city’s people are gunned down, she goes the whole day without eating. Poor planning–no intended protest. Pangs of hunger come before flickering out, and the tragedy of other cities will never be her story, but she is learning the news of it all by heart because what else is there to do with the irreconcilable parts of reality? Once home, she turns the knob on the stove until she hears three clicks. The flame rises, a blue lotus which she covers with a tarnished pot. While oil heats, she cuts onions and weeps. She has been taught that, to keep the tears away, she should chop with her lips shut. In the pan with the onions, she pours red wine, and the man she lives with has put on her favorite album. Yes, he has heard her silence and her knife. She puts the lid on the pan, goes to the living room and sits in the old white chair inherited from her mother. Joanna Newsom is screaming, and the man who put her on sits down across the room. Once, he had told her that they had their whole lives before them. But tonight he is silent, and she remains in the chair that speaks constantly of loss. The room has grown dimmer. Appetite returns, insistent. She can smell her onions wilting in the wine. Soon, she will have to add beef stock. No, she has not yet learned how to keep from craving what once had lived. Face turned to the window, she imagines her hands in old age—each knuckle a knot from a sap-drawn tree—and aches for the possibility that peace might click on in her as surely as the streetlights outside.
Photo by Neal Sanche