I have been going through old journals, where I’ve scrawled hundreds of poems and scraps of thought, trying to gather work to create a cohesive manuscript. It has been an interesting process of re-experiencing all of the stuck places that never seem to get unstuck (and so many that have moved on completely, revealing stunning clarity). In one tattered notepad (I was very fond of steno books and “writing tablets” for a period during grad school), I found a lovely letter to myself at age seven. It made me smile thinking of that little kid who was out wandering the land and waited thirty years to realize that she was an herbalist.
those days & nights, you only did what you needed to do to get through. Sometimes, your smile fades and it makes me wonder where you had to go.
You go — go away and I really
just want to
hear you laugh
watch you run
jump off the swing and fly
I remember you at seven–light and yellow–picking daffodils,
thinking about whether your yellow matched other people’s yellow
picking lilacs and thinking about the universe — making Sky Lab your own personal satellite.
I wonder now why that year seems so clear and the rest so vague
Yet what I remember is your aloneness — all the time you spent wandering woods and creeks
and looking in old dumps to discover —
Where was everyone?
Who did you tell about your dreams and hopes and hypotheses about the world?
Was it just you and the trees — the way I remember it?
Or is that loneliness compounded by memory or lack of it?
Did you tell anyone what you were feeling? What happened at home? What didn’t happen?
Why are you such an enigma?”