Tell

(Explaining Pictures of Starvation to a Child)

Tell her they are real. That hunger has lived in them so long they've come to resemble it. That each night they lie down on the line between living and dying.

Tell her there are many ways to die, and each is lonely.

And there are many hungers β€” that somewhere at this moment a man is praying to a telephone pole. When he is brought in, he will claim to be his own vision of God.

Or that now an old friend has gone silent in the wake of a stroke that spilled out his words like the unmatched pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.

Talk about what it is to want. To want to live, knowing, as you do, that all our lives our real work is to move, moment by moment, closer to their tiny wasted faces.

β€” Judith Kitchen

DAILY HOROSCOPE (an excerpt*)

Today will be like any other day. You will wake to the familiar sounds of the same hour in the same room, sounds which no alarm is needed to announce. And lying in the warm half-darkness, wish for any of the dreams you left, convinced that any change would be an argosy β€” an hour's sleep, an unexpected visit.

But they are lost to you β€”the dreams, the sleep, the faceless lovers you desire. Lost as if your eyes were shut against the light, and only these dull colors have remained, the vision never coming into focus, blurred or obscured this morning and forever.

Beyond your window, something like a wind is filling in the emptiness of air.

Vast, hungry, and invisible it sweeps the morning clean of memories, then disappears.

The weather changes randomly. Rain is falling from another planet but cannot wash the daylight off into familiar shapes. These walls, these streets, this day can never be your home, and yet there is no other world where you could live, and so you will accept it.

Just as others, waking to sunlight and the sound of leaves, accept the morning as their own, and walk without surprise, through orchards crossed by streams, where swift, cold water is running over stone.

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