claire. twenty-one. idealistic.

• • •

"if the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive…"

- eleonora duse

i guess now i live in nebraska?

The irony of acquiring a foreign tongue is that I have amassed just enough cheap, serviceable words to fuel my desires and never, never enough lavish, imprudent ones to geed them. It is true, though, that there are some French words that I have picked up quickly, in fact, words that I cannot remember not knowing. As if I had been born with them in my mouth, as if they were the seeds of a sour fruit that someone else ate and then ungraciously stuffed its remains into my mouth.
Monique Truong. The Book of Salt.

I thought of calling this piece “In Memoriam,” because “in memoriam” has always suggested a place to me—Memoriam, Oklahoma, say, or Memoriam, Tennessee—and because, to my tinker’s brain, “in memoriam,” sounds like “in memory am.” Which I am, now more than ever. Lost, basically, wandering that ancestral home, all polished wood and anecdote, wishing that I could unload it somehow, knowing I never will. Like it or not, I have an investment in Memoriam now. My father’s casket between the potted palms is the cornerstone. Welcome home, kid.

It’s an odd, slightly ghostly predicament. Lacking brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, with my mother’s memory having long ago lost any trace of me, I find myself the sole surviving owner of ten thousand names, stories, jokes, associations—that time the raccoon reached up through the knothole in the cabin floor when I was four; those Friday nights when the three of us would watch “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”; that evening, a memorable night in 1966, when my dad, with his professorial air and his Czech accent and his horn-rims, put on my mother’s shoulder-length blond wig on a dare and went out to pick up the pizza—that mean nothing, except that they were the soil of our lives.

Mark Slouka. Nobody’s Son.

sleepy themes