What can YOU say in six sentences?
1. The incident seemed even worse because we were tired, because it took ten towels to clean up the water, then a mop and disinfectant, then three loads of laundry -- efforts which at least, in a soothing wax on, wax off mindlessness -- quieted our helpless awareness of deeper waters rising.
2. If she was racist it was never spoken, never acted out or discussed, like a tiny stone kept in a box of things she didn't know what to do with, a dent in a car too small to fix, the tiniest of cavities or a slight scar hidden where no one could see it.
3. I grimaced while negotiating sharp turns on the dark wet mountain, tried to catch up with the tail lights ahead which prompted him to say in a low steady voice, "Below the outer edge of this road is pure nothing, but I'll let you decide how fast to drive."
4. The outside air blew through the vents, exhaust fumes, the smell of a city both broken and broken in, and I thought of how much I love the raw streets of New York, why I feel more myself when there are no clear boundaries, no guiding maps, no final destinations, just gritty honest road.
5. I buried my face in the warm curve of her neck, inhaled the scent of White Diamonds while above us stars and whole pages of our story dropped from the sky, vanishing on impact.
6. She watched him with curiosity, wondered how a person can become so erased, what it is like to sleep in the cold or read by diffused sunlight or be surrounded by the whole world without belonging to it, then to the tune of Get Back her mind paired bones with memories, prayer with preparation, musical harmony with clothes that fit but don't match.
7. She drew a large tree on the white surface, three generations, pill bottles, beer bottles, eyes X-ed out, marriages X-ed out, brains X-ed out, a woman X-ed out since she didn't know how to draw rape.
8. I write to myself daily, a chronicle of minutiae which in years to come will be considered important, like a time capsule of roads that no longer exist, or that faded something blue a bride wears when she leaves her father's house, when she commits to a life lived on her own terms.
9. You can name her -- love, spirit, muse, God -- but she will never belong to you.
10. It takes many years of sifting, shaking granules of people in your life over gray wire mesh to know what you've got; you shake up the loves, the friends and family, you shake up yourself.
11. Fear would rise only when the sun slipped away, when I could hear but not see the waves, when the horizon was lost in depths of unknowable blackness, a reminder that I was never more than a small jagged grain of memories.
12. She did experience peace on occasion, though it was unpredictable, thin and hard to enjoy, like sleeping late in a foxhole or skipping through daisies in a mine field, and when sleep was elusive she reached through a nest of pill bottles on the nightstand for the phone, for the only other person in the world, "Do you still pray for me?"