The tea warms through the paper cup and through my gloves. A tiny island of pleasure in the winter air outside my car. My head is still reeling with the conversations of the night. Friends from upstate New York, who drove here in their Prius. Their gentleman toddler who sat in the backseat through miles of I-81 without one solitary meltdown. The straw-bale guest house they want to construct next summer, where we can all stay when we visit. We being any friend who wishes to make the 12-hour drive.
I can’t help but look up because the trees are bare and so much of the night sky is visible. The moon full as boiled potatoes and stars always moving away.
I could reach up to the branches, damp in their centers, and pull one down to raise like a torch and stir the air. To stir the air the way my eight-year-old daughter moves the wind up in her tree house with an old walking stick. The way she owns that shit, full-faced and unflinching. And the leaves move here and there at her command. All the saints from the Catholic gift shop clinking together around her neck.
My energy is at an all-time low. Lately I’m unable to maneuver through a conversation with the ease I used to, and my brain feels dull. I can’t remember words. I interrupt more these days, and what I have to say is not important. Tonight I repeated what my friends said. I agreed. I smiled. I nodded. I added nothing new but the detail that I moved to a new office at work. I have more light now, I said.
The moon goes on shining above my car through the oak and maple branches, a silver mystery, its gray craters like oil through paper.
I hear the cars going down Highway 400, and a train clanging and whistling in the town down the road. The town where owner-less dogs walk freely. Their fur bristling with the filth of garbage scraps. The town is named after the wild turkeys that inhabit the area.
I stand in my driveway unable to remember the planet whose shape is brightest now, nor the word whose meaning is to expand fiercely. To expand fiercely.
My brain loops like a Philip Glass machine, the same refrain, the same refrain. Only it’s not the same. There are faint changes in every line.