Welcome to day 30 of 31 Days of Kissing the Wounds, a month of posts about the beauty, longing, and soul inherent in our damaged selves; in the world’s brokenness; in the imperfection, incompleteness, and transience of all that we love; in our recognition of each other as the walking wounded; and in the jagged, messy, splintery, deformed, sullied, unhealed parts of me, you, the natural world, our communities, the culture. Each post will look at these ideas from its own vantage point, which may not obviously connect with the others. I won’t attempt to tie them together.
Thinking how what I thought was mine
was only borrowed, and what was dear
had been forgotten, and every line
I’ve written will become a sign
for nothing at all, given time.
But that what I was given, time.
That’s my present, present time.
— Ursula K. Le Guin, from “My Birthday Present”
The Conditional by Ada Limón (2013)
Say tomorrow doesn’t come.
Say the moon becomes an icy pit.
Say the sweet-gum tree is petrified.
Say the sun’s a foul black tire fire.
Say the owl’s eyes are pinpricks.
Say the raccoon’s a hot tar stain.
Say the shirt’s plastic ditch-litter.
Say the kitchen’s a cow’s corpse.
Say we never get to see it: bright
future, stuck like a bum star, never
coming close, never dazzling.
Say we never meet her. Never him.
Say we spend our last moments staring
at each other, hands knotted together,
clutching the dog, watching the sky burn.
Say, It doesn’t matter. Say, That would be
enough. Say you’d still want this: us alive,
right here, feeling lucky.
It’s hard to fathom how different a life can be.
I’ve seen enough of the lives I might have had
to be grateful for this one. I suspect
you have as well. Tomorrow, when I’m done
cutting the grass, the air will be rich
with its damp green. I’ll sit on my porch
without wanting to go anywhere else,
settling into what might be our greatest task:
to live this life as though we could imagine no other.
— Al Maginnes, from “How Different a Life Can Be” (2016)
Thanks for checking in. And be sure to see what the other 31 Dayers wrote about.