There will be an end, I once wrote to myself, on a postcard one afternoon with the sun on my nape, my feet up on a chair. But not just yet, I eventually added. I was in another country and the city has been incredibly kind to me, and I was teaching myself about my limits and my fears.

Not just yet—perhaps my mantra for the past year as I pass through the days. You are here, I say. Pay attention, I say. How does one not become the very selfsame ghost that haunts one’s life?

I am here. Not yet shattered. Not yet dead. Beginning again. I am not entirely ready but my heart is open. Perhaps today that is enough.

The Leash
Ada Limón

After the birthing of bombs of forks and fear,
the frantic automatic weapons unleashed,
the spray of bullets into a crowd holding hands,
that brute sky opening in a slate metal maw
that swallows only the unsayable in each of us, what’s
left? Even the hidden nowhere river is poisoned
orange and acidic by a coal mine. How can
you not fear humanity, want to lick the creek
bottom dry to suck the deadly water up into
your own lungs, like venom? Reader, I want to
say, Don’t die. Even when silvery fish after fish
comes back belly up, and the country plummets
into a crepitating crater of hatred, isn’t there still
something singing? The truth is: I don’t know.
But sometimes, I swear I hear it, the wound closing
like a rusted-over garage door, and I can still move
my living limbs into the world without too much
pain, can still marvel at how the dog runs straight
toward the pickup trucks break-necking down
the road, because she thinks she loves them,
because she’s sure, without a doubt, that the loud
roaring things will love her back, her soft small self
alive with desire to share her goddamn enthusiasm,
until I yank the leash back to save her because
I want her to survive forever. Don’t die, I say,
and we decide to walk for a bit longer, starlings
high and fevered above us, winter coming to lay
her cold corpse down upon this little plot of earth.
Perhaps, we are always hurtling our body towards
the thing that will obliterate us, begging for love
from the speeding passage of time, and so maybe
like the dog obedient at my heels, we can walk together
peacefully, at least until the next truck comes.

This is from The Carrying by Ada Limón, published by Milkweed Editions, 2018.

I’m in front of another big window again, in another city, my last night here for a while. I’ve packed what I can, trying to discern what I need and what I don’t, and if I can live with that.

I sometimes want to carry my whole house on my back. I’m a creature of habit, it’s only justified, I tell myself. I want to move but I don’t want to leave. What does that say about me?

And then sometimes I want to leave everything behind. Start over, the whole shebang. I’ll even pick a new name. Is that running away from who I am or the sheer adventure of a lifetime?

I tell G. in a letter: Will I ever have it together? I would like to think so. In some ways it has to do with my writing—there are times when I think that my writing is bigger than myself, that my body has to keep going so it can serve my mind. Then there are days when I also think that I am more than my writing, that life can be more than just all of this. Because really I find myself asking that question often—is this all there is?

I don’t feel that you’ve been so much broken as rearranged, he writes back to me. Maybe.

I listen to Philip Glass play Mad Rush. No moon tonight, at least, not from where I’m standing. Maybe.

The Conditional
Ada Limón

Say tomorrow doesn’t come.
Say the moon becomes an icy pit.
Say the sweet-gum tree is petrified.
Say the sun’s a foul black tire fire.
Say the owl’s eyes are pinpricks.
Say the raccoon’s a hot tar stain.
Say the shirt’s plastic ditch-litter.
Say the kitchen’s a cow’s corpse.
Say we never get to see it: bright
future, stuck like a bum star, never
coming close, never dazzling.
Say we never meet her. Never him.
Say we spend our last moments staring
at each other, hands knotted together,
clutching the dog, watching the sky burn.
Say, It doesn’t matter. Say, That would be
enough. Say you’d still want this: us alive,
right here, feeling lucky.

(from Poets.org)