6.16.19: in no particular order

Why do I feel that I am engaging in some great witchcraft when marking up a book? When I was a child, my school’s librarian enforced the pristine page. If I were to return a book with one folded over (and I never did), I would have been charged a fine and scolded for my disrespect. Disrespect was my specter for years, until in an English class I was encouraged to highlight and annotate my pages—for a grade! I could hardly contain myself (containment is such lifelong work, isn’t it?). The haunted child became the haunter. I raised spirits with my pen. I engaged the page in battle, slashing straight across, severing in ink, hoping something buoyant and new, so long embalmed, would bubble to the surface through the incision. I cut to leave a mark, to clear a trail back into the land of the living. I read fitfully in corners, in view of windows, occasionally hoping someone was watching and imagining my insides. I was a mind desperate to be seen, all throbbing pink and red flesh and exposed muscle. I am what I have seen. Can’t you love me for that? When I finished, I mounted my bike and listened to Rick Springfield, wishing I could be a boy in an 80s movie, to turn my gaze ever outward, at the horizon and at girls. Wishing I could be simple, to need no language for my I. It licked me in waves, this consciousness of self. In the summer, I inverted under the wet heat, leafy overhead, wide expanses of green, as though upsetting a telescope. I was always at a distance, across a field. The smallness was a freedom too.