March 17, 2020

Article at existere journal of Arts & literature

Catching Hope

You describe the weight like those of the black marble sphinxes you loved in the downtown library: cold, hard, so heavy they need stone pedestals to support them. You reveal how this new depression is like that maze of mirrors you got lost in at the carnival when you were ten, feared never finding your way out back to mom, dad, me. You try. We know you try. Talk therapy. Pills. You say you can't catch hope like you used to fill up baskets of trout at the lake. I ask you to join me in the rooftop pool, remind you how the cool water could shake off your epidermis of sadness. You light up another cigarette, let the ashes fall off by themselves, do that song of sighs that tells me I'll never really know, never understand. I go down to the apartment to fetch your favorite cold drinks. When I return you are flittering round like a mosquito unable to fine the tear in the screen door to fly out. You stare at me like we're strangers not siblings, hug me with your black froth, your spirit's vacancy punching me so I can't breathe. Fearful you will drag me into another abyss, another quandary, I leave the drinks, leave you without a word, embarrassed that I've intruded into something sacred, too dense, devoid of light. A neighbor found you slack jawed on the lounge chair, empty prescription bottle on your lap. Still wobbly the next day, I make myself walk back up to the roof where your leftover pain hovers over crumpled butts amidst ashes, the forgotten tube of sunscreen. I outstretch my arms to the everyday clear blue sky of L.A., wish you safe travels, yet my words sound hollow, shellacked with anger even even as I accept that maybe this world wasn't your path. What if the future is hope realized? What if doubt is natural? What if? The thing, the thing, the thing is: We must go on ...