Ash-coated everything and me (A MAG) (DON’T ADD PUNCTUATION OR INDENTS)**


Valerie Royzman

I wrap myself in air and drive God I drive so far and still end up in the same state after fields and sky and fields and sky and cows for miles and then I stare as deer cross East Main Street and am not sure if I really see them because I have not slept but anyway I feel so damn lucky and I cry like a small child to Stevie Nicks’ “Landslide” in the car and lament about getting older too I am 21 and sometimes wake up feeling like my bones must be ancient like my bones make so much horribly splendid music and then I think about how I should call my mother more and thank her isn’t it weird being human? because I water my plants and scold the cat for eating the flower on my windowsill and take it back the cat was just reaching for something beautiful so beautiful she wasn’t afraid to swallow it and I remember that pair of birds you know the ones on that branch? On that day in when was it? June? I think to myself they are so happy with their little lives and then I write a grocery list only two items long: coffee creamer and Excedrin and think about how wouldn’t that be a funny name for a band and I laugh my sweater off wouldn’t it be extravagant to drop it all today and learn to play a new instrument like let’s stop this writing thing it scares me and I am only good at it sometimes but then I relive that day in the doctor’s office when pumpkin decorating hacks are on Cleveland 19 News but who has time to think about pumpkins when the country is withering away we have to listen to each other listening can be nice but sometimes the noise of a nation roars so loudly and scares me so I chop off my hair and put on red lipstick because it makes me feel like a woman and I cry again like why do I cry so much? Because I watch my nieces and nephews grow and I fall in love with the world and with the career I have chosen then I fall out of love with it and think about how America could explode and I picture ash-coated everything and wonder if I get to hold your hand before the stars collapse and rain down on us warm and heavy and suddenly the grass is changing color and whales are weeping and I lose my mind so much that my new favorite color might be orange. Orange! The ugly kind! Can you believe it! Then I read a book about religion and shout at the clouds why can’t they tell the sun enough of this sweltering weather I’m so sick of it and then I am well again because I love love you see I collect it like some stupid tax collector and we’re all just tumbling through the universe telling the stories of who we are and where we’ve been and I don’t know how to explain it but I’m just having a hard time being a person

Valerie Royzman is a contributer at A Magazine. Contact her at [email protected].