29 November 2010

Advent I

All the leaves are gone. Our secret house feels revealed, in plain view. The neighborhood has grown. There are swathes of wasteland between some houses, valleys of brush and crumbling leaves. Now we can see a dozen windows out of our own. We have to shut the shades at night. We must be visible, slipping out of the house for walks after dark. We leave our house and cross the street, past the music studio and drycleaner, up the hill. From the top we can see our neighbors’ Christmas lights outlining the place where we live. Then we turn away from the ridge and delve further, into unlit neighborhoods, down a narrow path between two boundary fences that opens into a field. We stand beneath the stars, wrapped in scarves. “I like December,” I say, forgetting that it’s not yet.

08 November 2010


An hour before midnight we stole through Rhode Island, south to north, beneath the first snow. Unknown and unannounced, neither coming nor going, we had no purpose here. We did not stop last night.

It could be any night last year. Shouldn’t we take this exit then, and go home, and sleep in our own bed in the room with blue walls? Shouldn’t we wake up to sun in our yellow kitchen, to tall ceilings and windows that nearly reach the floor, to our second-storey living? Put the teapot on in the morning darling and turn up the heat. And you will walk to First and Main and I will run down to the harbor. We will catch the snow on our neighbor’s lawn and will breathe this bright air together.

Yes, this is the way, but that is not where we are going.

We did not stop last night—not to say goodnight to my family, not to drink wine with your mother, not for coffee on the east side, not to look out over the water. How grey, even by headlights, the highway looks now. How narrow and fissured. How crumpled these guardrails are. Were they always so rusted? Spaces spread wide with familiarity shrink back to first impressions. I do not believe I ever lived here. The windshield glass keeps out the night. Snow falls and we sweep it away. All of this is slipping past. I watch the edges of the road and you stare straight ahead.