she wrote: I don’t think it’s the trip that’s making me low, I was just low before I came.
some months later, someone you don’t know wrote: I’ve been feeling really low the last couple of months and I’m not sure going away by myself was the best decision. Out there it was just an extension of how I felt already and without my buffers I felt it more acutely.
and now me, I felt the same way too when I went away in June. Listless. Unanchored. Lo(w).
and every February, every “last autumn,” you write far from the threshing harvesters folding wheat like a girl plaiting her hair, far from Russia’s canals quivering with sunstroke, a man living with English in one room.
Who is that dark child on the parapets of Europe, watching the evening river mint its sovereigns stamped with power, not with poets, the Thames and the Neva rustling like banknotes, then, black on gold, the Hudson’s silhouettes?
From frozen Neva to the Hudson pours, under the airport domes, the echoing stations, the tributary of emigrants whom exile has made as classless as the common cold, citizens of a language that is now yours
A propos of yesterday. There are always too many words, or not enough. This time last year I felt different about this image, about you. Images were sufficient because the grief was a found-photo: there was longing, gradually fading at the edges, but comfortingly constant. Now, they’re inadequate. Relationships are in continual flux, even after they end; yet the images of you remain frozen, rejecting dialogue. And they hold up the image as evidence of your immutable divinity.
The image is not enough, but it’s all I have, so for that reason I’m writing to you now. To explain that I need to escape your image, your fixed gaze that still refuses to see me after all this time. I’ll carry it with me—how can I not when our faces are so similar—but I must frame it differently. I hope you’ll understand that at times I’ll have to look away, even as, you’re looking at me.