Friday, May 29, 2020

Letter to Myself (Freligh)

Dear Sarah:

I’m supposed to write a letter to you, which feels odd because I am you and living alone as you do, we are all we’ve had for the last ten weeks. There’s been no escaping you; even after a couple glasses of happy hour wine that’s frankly–just between the two of us – getting a little too happy some nights (I’m saying this with love, girlfriend.) And those deep dives into whatever series you’re streaming, the hinge of episodes, their cliffhanger endings resolved with a click? You’re there waiting for me after I shut down the screen for the night. So nope, no escape for either of us.

March was a land mine of a month. Every day it felt like something familiar disappeared, was altered or taken away. I canceled reservations or crossed off appointments in my Daytimer. Weeks yawned white and empty at me. I wrote “I miss my friends.” I wrote “I miss swimming.” I wrote “I can’t stand this anymore.” Meanwhile, my friends in New York City posted Facebook entries about the sirens screaming nonstop up empty avenues or streets and of the buzz-hum of the refrigeration trucks where the dead were stacked after the morgues got too crowded. Yet they wrote, too, about the daffodils that pushed up sassy and yellow, of the tulips and lilacs and the flowering trees they couldn’t identify: Anyone know what this is? They posted photos of the loaves of bread they’d baked, the first in how long they couldn’t remember, from some leftover flour and some yeast fished from the back of a cupboard.

I’m about to embark on a two-week writing intensive, 1,000 words a day with no apologies. But first, I’m supposed to write this letter to myself in which I try to ditch all the baggage we writers typically haul around, suitcases we’ve packed with all the things that keep us stuck in endless roundabouts. Fear, resentment—all the stuff we grab when we’re feeling particularly naked and vulnerable.

As I write this I realized I unpacked a lot of those bags in March and April. I spent time with the you-that’s-me and in the absence of the static from the world, my own radio signal came through loud and clear.

You are, it said. You can.  

Sarah Freligh is the author of Sad Math, winner of the 2014 Moon City Press Poetry Prize and the 2015 Whirling Prize from the University of Indianapolis. Among her awards are a 2009 poetry fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and a grant from the Constance Saltonstall Foundation in 2006.

No comments:

Post a Comment