It’s fall in the place that was home. The city of hills is in the clutches of leaf crowded trees. They cluster and bustle, like masses at a city corner waiting for go. Everything is being conquered in slow motion. You can witness seven new faces of orange in a happy sliver of sun.
Everything is blankets and layers. The sunk clouds have nowhere else to be. Everything is fragments and pieces. At my feet are the pixels that just made the scene. Everything is chipping and cracked, and piles up the earth to a cocksure empty sky. Everything is carpets laid of that which we shed from ourselves.
And what remains are all our peculiar anchors. That dangle and weigh. That hang with no purchase of bottom.
It is football season. Which is funny, because that’s how the doctors described my sister’s tumor: football sized. It barrels her belly from a hundred pound frame. My big sister who scared off the bullies when I head-butted their chests. My sister who saves the boxes of my childhood in her attic, that I threw away. My sister that lives in the home town I hurled myself away from. That still attends the church I quit at twelve. My sister, who shattered her spine sledding, yes sledding. And as she lay in a morphine fever on a hospital gurney at the edge of all things, begged me to take Jesus into my heart. Because she was afraid I was going to hell. My petite beautiful sister who always remembers all birthdays. My sister who loves frog statues and laughs easy. Even at the ﬁve pound football in her belly. Even when people at her church hug her with wide smiles and ask when she’s due.
She would hate me saying anything at all, so I’ll leave it there. But that’s why I’m here. These hometown streets familiar but cold. These paths and shortcuts of memory only traceable, where once grooved. A lover whose face is falling to the darkness. A lover who forged a harbor of stars in the diaspora from flame.
When delivering difﬁcult news it’s best to be direct. As in: Frank you no longer have a functioning penis. Or, yes Grandma I DO believe that IF Jesus existed, he probably was in love with a prostitute.
Or. Yes it’s cancer. No, they don’t know what kind. They took everything out. Both ovaries. Your uterus. Cervix. Parametrium. Omentum. And your appendix. Because they don’t know where the cancer is coming from. Even your whatever-the-pouch-of-Douglas-is. Everything had to go.
Also, let go of any hope you had of bearing a child. And you’re going to start menopause. Probably tomorrow.
Try to sleep. Let’s all just sleep.