The Falling by Jane Hirshfield
Last Friday was one of those rare evenings that I find myself out with friends (being introvert I always have too many excuses — it’s too far, it’s too late, I’m busy, I’m sick, I’m depressed, etc.). I attended J’s first gallery exhibit. I felt bad for missing the opening night, but also relieved since I didn’t want to be making small talk with people I seem to have outgrown over the years. I’m bad at gatherings, because I don’t always know what to say. I could let people go on and talk about themselves, but that also means there’s going to be a pause where they ask me how I was, you know, just to be polite — and instead of deflecting the question, I instantly blabber on about the most inane things. I am awkward and irrelevant, and I hate it, and inside my head I am jumping up and down, screaming at myself to shut up but there seems to be a disconnect between my brain and my body parts. So, anyway — back to J’s exhibit, which was fantastic. A few Christmases ago I printed some of her photos and put them in makeshift frames and gave them as a gift. I have always known I’d see her works on a wall someday, and now it has arrived, and wow, it only took a few years, see. I’m so proud of her and wholeheartedly believe that she was born to do this.
That evening out made me feel a lot better. Friends always make things better. And poetry, of course.
You turn towards meteor showers in August,
wishing yourself like that:
bright and burning wholly out.
When feeling finally comes it is
that falling, matter breaking away
from air, the sound
of crickets moving through the grass like fire—
and the strangely twisted metal
in the field that a child finds:
Then there’s the story of the Chinese sage,
in anger and despair, who cut his body away in pieces,
flung them into the lake.
Each one, becoming finned and whole, swims off.