The question of rest


Two short pieces on coming to settle in one place, written in MA in August 2018 and February 2019.

The Bowl

When I realized biking that I would have to carry the bowl, I liked the idea. I had carried small, beautiful things—blue jay feather, milkweed, more nettle than necessary. I came to measure importance by weight, and then by singularity. For each useful item nonetheless shed—the tent, the second t-shirt—there was a defiant thrill in keeping the heavier, more magical thing. A gifted stone with a streak of quartz, a broad and rambling book. But the bowl was bigger, and in its inherent emptiness, less useful. Folding the bowl in the sleeping bag, protecting the thing that protects. Carrying this womb around bearing the thing that bears carrying earth over land against wind taking in water to lug clay fired holding on to what was never made for transit the perfect cycling motion and the homely, irregular rim. The bowl asks for stillness. It asks for a place to rest, in order to hold. Perhaps a table, itself resting on a floor. And perhaps a door, for beholding the bowl holding. This asking for stillness is a breakable ask, milky and rust- colored, lip lifting out. I wanted the fragility of the question of rest.

I moved out of my house of clothes

I moved out of my house of clothes. First I moved out of my bike shorts and one t-shirt which was, when necessary, one towel. I moved into bigger quarters, the sweater in the mail, the down coat Anastatia brought, the thrift shop finds. My backpack was the place of dwelling, my only boots my house of shoes. I made those boots suit everything--the bike tour, the shelter floor, the cumbia concert--until the stitching split down the side and the acupuncturist in Vermont said my feet were caving inward and I spilled gasoline all over the boots so my sister pulled up by a dumpster on a snowy road to Rhode Island and I threw them out. When I moved into a new house of shoes, I paced constantly their floors, from a liquidation sale where outside seagulls made circles. I haven’t had a house of roof and wall but have had the closer house of what daily touches skin. The carmel sweater vest, the green striped socks. The knowing going home into soft jeans with the Turkish belt, the holding close of homes among this house of clothes.