Zombie Star

There’s no way back believe me/
I’m writing you from there.

~Jorie Graham

I’ve been using you. I’ll fess up. I’ll play it as it lays. I’ve used you to feel significant again, to shine brighter than my own flat self. A penny no matter how tarnished gleams after time on the train track. A balloon is no fun without air. But now I feel myself slipping, just one last grain of sand slipping down the slick funnel, just one skyscraper lost in a horizon of metal and glass. Once the Chrysler Building was the shit, you know, the bees’ knees. Once it held significance. Now it is a hobby horse I still ride, a strawman I’ll argue as if I could win, if only I knew what I was arguing for. I feel small, there I’ve said it. I am dwarfed by the looming statues of twin monoliths: cancer and disability. I hate to say it but maybe I am Fitzgerald’s goddamn boat. (How many of the faint-hearted have claimed the same?) I am buffeted, and the green light, well I’m rowing against more than the current, more than the wind. I am rowing against anonymity. I heard love ride the air like an echo, and I chased it. I cupped it like water in my palm. Dare I say I am the rainbow that needs more than to be the treasure itself? I thought to have love was to be something at a time when I was nothing more than a plate for food, a table for the plate, the floor for the table, the earth for the floor. Settle it all upon me and I won’t shift, won’t tire. But take me for granted and I’ll forget I’m here. I’ll forget that maybe I was supposed to be dessert, if only someone had thought to take a bite. Still I will be sweet. I can hardly complain. There’s no telling what else could go wrong if I so much as make a peep. I am both the girl and the closet. The baby and the blanket. I am absence. I am the dark. And maybe it’s enough to be a thought, a star long extinguished and glinting only as memory. Careful. If you blink, I might miss me.

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