Nights in the Neighborhood by Linda Gregg
I don’t desire much these days. Only that I get to be well, and take care of myself, as I should, which honestly I haven’t been very good at these past couple of years. I’m trying though. Or should I say: I’m learning.
I suppose, it’s because after all the wanting, I have arrived at that point when some things are clearer. For example: what I am meant to be doing for the rest of my life. For example: who I am at the core, and how that’s separate from what I’m going through, because really, life happens, and the world, and the universe, and to not be able to keep up with it at times is okay. For example: the people I love, and that small overlap with the people who love me, which is nice. For example: the truth that I am going to always be a little bit sad. For example: that there are days when I am not strong enough to go at it alone, and that I need help, which is okay, too.
I think I have been lost for a long time now. I think maybe I even encourage that, sometimes. I think I’m so used to being lost that it’s started to give me roots in the abyss, and I tell myself it’s the only place I’ve ever known, the only space where I’ll be loved. I think maybe it’s time to be found.
I turn twenty-nine today. It’s past midnight. I could feel my old self stirring about, dusting the corners. Not ready to leave yet, perhaps. Sticking it out for another year, perhaps.
I suppose, it’s because after all the grief, the husk remains.
Happy birthday, self. It’s funny how life works, but I think you already know that.
Nights in the Neighborhood
I carry joy as a choir sings,
but quietly as the dark
carols. To keep the wind away
so the hidden ones will come
out into the street and add
themselves to this array of
stars, constellations and moon.
I notice the ones in pain
shine more than the others.
It’s so they can be found,
I think. Found and harbored.
This is from The Sacraments of Desire by Linda Gregg, published by Graywolf Press, 1995.