she's inside, tracking the directions north east south west, marking time on the walls. she makes light out of ribfat and digs her toes deep, kneehigh, she makes light out of ribfat.
i am not going to write about old wounds. not in that way. cat scratch, broken glass, flake of sheet metal to the eye. broken toenail, silver hair, no broken bones, no surgeries, no overnights in hospital.
there is this place i have been circling, where she lives, and writing about it brings me great comfort, but it makes me feel more alone every time i go there. write about it:
she marks the directions on the wall. in the post-apocalyptic world i would drop to my knees and learn to sniff out sweetness and danger and new ways of naming love. the place is inside my chest, is deep red dark cave in my ribcage. is soft diaphragm floor and branched ribs ceiling, collarbone and trachea and the light shines through like sunset light over a wildfire. the deep red light, deep red smoky light, when the sky is dark and it is night the world inside will go bright with fire and fleeing animals. the kind of light that is relieving, is lay your burden down, you could run now but the fire is faster.
mark your directions inside ribcage walls and listen to the wind carrying smoke and the birds fly faster than fire, tell the stories before it's too late. but the others, the deer and foxes and wild cats and black bear, they are slow on their feet and they know well enough to be panicked. they run as far as they are willing to go and then they lay their burdens down, let the trees take them, let the smoke take them, let the wild screeching wind take them. and the light changes.
all the time the light changes. you will not know by the sun, in a ribcage, in a wild fire. you will not know by the sun or the stars or the sound of her voice which direction is up or down. the light has shifted, and shifted again, and you are tempted to say the light's all wrong, but then you know this way from that because you have marked, again and again, your whole life long, the directions on the walls of the inside and the breath under your feet is a rhythm you can trust. and the heat of the inside, you can trust. and the thickening shadows and half-lights and tricks of light you can trust. your arms spread wide wall to wall rib to rib, tha-thump tha-thump and it is steamy red and heart-close and it is good to move closer, it is good to taste the air with your tongue, iron-sweet. you take the stories i tell you and you line the walls with them. you stretch out your arms and say she told me this one, this one is true. as far as you can see, arms outstretched as far as you can see: she told me this one, this one is true.
(freewrite: write about the wisdom of an old wound, 18 minutes.)