Dear fairytale, dear long-lost lover, dear spaceman of the night, dear museum hologram,
ten years-after I wrote you last, I think to write you again. A house is a family, a minivan is a family, a beach blanket is a family, a storybook is a family, and the tale was you and me, and two little space cowboys. Dear steel wreckage, dear void, dear files I can’t toss, dear binders filled with love notes, dear home video tapes, dear empty calendar and therapy schedule, dear promise and impossibility.
It’s been twenty years since you blew out your fortieth candle. I was not who I am now.
Life is one thing and then another. If no floods mildew the tales, if no planes tumult to impale, the fairytale is a space odyssey; if impossibility is absolute. Dear disappeared bodies and transitions, dear catastrophe and blessings, dear verge of a tragic story. Before the wreckage, I misunderstood fulfilment.
I fulfill myself now. I coach perseverance. A young woman in a support group told
about how she was unable to converse with her father about a death. When she reaches for his support, he closes up, about the loss. It’s true that this story is tragedy, like all things that
come to life. I thought about this story, what it meant for her to live with the void left by the death of her brother, and the death of this connection with her father—and thought of all the ways she could fill the void, herself. There I was, coaching the structure of a narrative, empathetic author
of written prose and unseen letters, thinking dear brother, dear lover, dear mother,
dear son, dear father, dear stillness in the night, until there is the woman I knew as a wife, whose husband found her in a glance, loved her curves and her edges, and gave her two sons, a blanket in the sand, a home. Before he hurled into the vault, and left me at his desk—
unlike the emptiness of the young woman’s story, this one is real—
you left me full. Filled with the passion of our union, a narrative of our invisible grace that inscribes a continuous sentence of possibility.
Sometimes this man is sitting next to me, sitting here at the desk, watching pages turn as words
fill empty spaces where a family was a home in Long Island. Hoping there is a vehicle moving one way and a story moving another. How much of a word count before something manifests that feels like answers when we write them down—
Like printed scripts full of transitional phrases, inciting incidents, narrative arcs, and reckoning
climaxes, the holding space between scenes that end in joy or sorrow. You keep showing up, my dear husband, peppered and wise now, and transcendent.
Like the northeastern sandbar, shorelines breached.
© Deborah Garcia 2021 All rights reserved
Images by Deborah Garcia
Beautiful poem, Deb, evocative and heart-rending and brave. Thank you.