I left the House in the rain that erased me. That’s why you can’t see me anymore. Why when you gaze at the curvature of earth to catch a sighting of the ship—you, too, disappear.
The shipwreck, I shall tell you in confidence, delivered me back to teal waves and all the salt that would parch my skin in the burnishing sun. I am so very sad and so very sorry that you miss me so much–that you deleted me, another erasure.
I prayed to be saved by Orpheus, Odysseus, Hylas. Not you, relieved you are no longer witness to my disfigured heart, bruised and fisted from fighting itself, pumping outside my chest in my cut-up hands outstretched in front of me, undead– set out to travel across the galaxy to find someone to take over for a while, hold it. I, too, spared—from your face, a crumpled lily, your inability to make eye contact.
No one told me any of this. No one inscribed these words on parchment in the sage’s tome placed on the pillar as offering to the fractured gods that weep for all we have done to each other. The gods we banished because they would not, when we begged them, intervene, lessen the unbearable pain. While we humans played psychological bumper cars to act out, do something, hurt someone, feel something, know the purity of crash (at the other’s expense).
The gentle, elderly pilot of the ship mumbled about fractal stars while he looked past the night, a black velvet blanket, and covered me. I slept in its softness in the calm before my birth before anyone knew me, asked of me. Before the dragon-goldfish roiling flames destroyed the ship’s sextant and charts, defunct tools of navigation, and all onboard.
When I woke from my underwater maelstrom-tango, prostate with my face up, I coughed sea water from my lungs, oily black and moss green seaweed that knotted my wild hair, sea glass the color of patina, blood that disappeared into pearls. The hours before winter sunrise stretch out and swallow me. They are long, and I wait for the emptiness to resurrect itself, spin the sky sublime.
Oh, Orpheus, choose two of my broken ribs as drum sticks, broken like my back and the splintered whalebone corset I will use as kindling. Your guitar moves me past the lies I delivered with poker face and the lies of omission, past remembering how so many sold out the country. Orpheus, your haunting atonal notes, shattered human narratives, return me to the underbelly of love where I no longer recognize myself– just a swirl of viridian ink in the Mediterranean.
Odysseus, climb the winter horizon with pale golden fingers. Oh, Hylas, please find me, bring me back. To brushstrokes and light and poetry and sky that never ends– into a love that never ends with any certainty though with certain certainty we will surely die.
It is quiet on the island. I can’t help but think of the ghost ship, my death. While I sleep and weep, hyperventilate and sob, have nightmares—and dreams of my lost father and emerald, translucent trees filtering May light under the maple where the kind old man and I carried the bear with fallen hips so the needles, one a time, could find the proper veins. The quiet of one gone deaf. No voice soothing the dilapidated heart jumping outside the chest contusion from the ship’s steering wheel. It is too hard to keep it, feed it, leave it alone—palpitating like a semi-crushed bird before it surrenders its crimson feathers, over and over, unreal.
The days have shrunk into themselves, folded their hands of misplayed cards. The hours have become very small, then elongate—like the moon and tides. I try feverishly to describe, sing like the Sirens, so someone might stay with me of his own free will, change the bandages. Night, the dress I wear, stitches itself through my skin.