Because the power is out for the house in my mind, I am thinking about gifts and walls. In my room on the mountain, I cry into my phone like a balcony. By now I am predictable. By now my body is halved on the bed. By now D.’s voice like a record. Earlier, I listened to a motivational speech while I stepped around the roots of redwood trees. The speech insisted like tempo on the need of joy, which I decided to mishear as the speed of joy. As in, Do you notice [at] the [sp]eed of joy? I love this question. That I can say, I am training my noticing. That I can say, I am running a few minutes late, construction, blue sunlight, the map of a palm, I will meet you at joy soon.
Tonight, a call with my father over Facebook Messenger in a dream. It’s been 381 days since the last, which makes it, on average, a yearly tradition like hail. In the dream, he follows along with my life like a pop-up book. He can tell me where I am, how long I’ve been there, what bodies of water I’ve stood beside. He’ll say I wish you didn’t move so far and. Most of it silence like when your eyes are closed before sleep. He’ll ask What’s new. This time I said, Today I saw a play where a boy tamed a wolf named Ocean. He’ll say What. I’ll say Today a boy tamed a wolf. He’ll say What. I’ll say A boy fed Ocean from his hands.
A friend I share nothing in common—except that we’ve both nearly or completely attempted to take our own young lives—texts me I miss you. In his time zone, it’s near midnight and I imagine the blue splash of his phone light creating his face in the dark. In mine, the sun has just landed on the bank like a music stand. We don’t talk much, but he is one of the few people I’ve managed to tell I love you. I send him a picture of me with one foot in the river and one palm balancing what remains of the day. I find nothing profound to say. I write back Thanks for letting me borrow the sun. / I’ll get it back to you first thing tomorrow.
Tyler Raso is an MFA candidate at Indiana University, where they currently play as Nonfiction Editor of the Indiana Review. You can find their work in The London Magazine, Lunch Ticket, One, and elsewhere.
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