No, they’re not

“Everything I want from a mother is entrail-exhausting, rage-flooded, shocked-alive, and structured like a shriek. All I have the courage to ask for is this convenience. We wipe down the counter. We hang up towel and sponge. When I was little I understood the world to be made of paper, and that everyone should step carefully or go through the paper. I wanted a notation for that, for the going-through. I thought, I still think, this notation is stored somewhere, above us in a sort of mist or secret layer. I never realized that Verna had been carrying the ghost of Mildred at the front of her mind for fifty years, like impossible antlers. The judgments we bring to bear on one another are not very sound, are they?”

Ann Carson, “Back the Way You Went,” New Yorker, October 31, 2016

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A different kind of marriage vow

And maybe one of the loveliest I’ve ever heard:

“In sickness and in sickness. That is what I wish for you. Don’t seek or expect miracles. There are no miracles. Not anymore. And there are no cures for the hurt that hurts most. There is only the medicine of believing each other’s pain, and being present for it.”

 From: Jonathan Safran Foer. “Here I Am.” Farrar, Straus and Giroux. iBooks. 

So Far Still To Go

The moon rose last night,
shimmering,
intransigent,
as it has throughout all of our galaxy’s
history.
Over the rise and fall
of the Roman empire,
over the slaughters of innocents
in Viet Nam
and Phnom Penh
the murder of journalists or those
who dared to speak their minds
Communist Russia,
Syria, come to mind;
the Holocaust,
alas
the list is too long.

See, the thing is,
the world does not
care
that we are here;
perhaps might even wish
we were
not.

But we do.
We care.
And it is clear that we
still
have so much to do.