Saturday, June 25, 2022

Forgive us our trespasses

25 June 2022

On the armrest of a couch, just above the old golf trophy, I found a Ronald Reagan photo book. He wears a cowboy hat and smiles at the ceiling.

On a broken windshield on a broken car, I found a gnome whose hands spread wide: “This is how much I love you,” it read. One ornamental eye was missing.

On the wall of an abandoned house I found a calendar from July, 2016 that recorded the weeks of a pregnancy (32, 33, 34, 35); from another wall, two stuffed animals looked out. They were nailed on, like art.

On yet another wall, I found family photos, a graduation, a smiling couple, an elementary school class, an envelope that read “Memories,” but kept them inside its plastic window.

In the kitchen, I found two DVDs of “Hot Jailhouse Sluts,” the photo of which was censored by Zuckerberg, who buys up land on Kauai. No one can afford to live there.

On the filthy bathroom sink, a bottle of blue mouthwash.

Next to another old house, a ruined piano, keys and strings bent, lying on the ground amid the weeds.

The inventory of abandonment includes our and our mothers’ wars. It’s a lineage, violence. It frames our biographies, the opening diagrams of Russian novels, the day after Roe v. Wade was overturned. Turn over the loam, seed it with tears. We walk toward the explosion, knowing it will happen. “But they said it was settled law.”

My mother said she wept at military cemeteries in Europe, but she drank her tears. Rust ate away at the scaffolding of her grief. Rust grew between feeling and expression, until they lost track, like long-ago roommates. No phone call brought them back together. Only the arbitrary remained. A feeling. An expression. Nonsense.

We compare the numbers of our D&Cs, laugh nervously at their criminality, as of yesterday. “Take your dogma off my daughter.” Mine writes to say what a terrible day, something about Texas. Stay in a blue state, I advise her. Red is for anger; blue is for grief.

To make an inventory is to organize, to take account, to learn the history of your things. An inventory exists in the present; there is none for what I had ten years ago, or will have ten years hence. It's the math we do around our feelings when they attach to things. When I count my losses, I see stuffed animal, rusted car, a scattering of ashes. No longer objects, they are now fake news.

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