Sometimes, I struggle for warmth. When the fire of the day is too thin and pale to hold through the long night. I’m afraid I’ll disappear before the morning comes again—the alarm, the pale sun, to hustle me on my way out the door and into the cold morning light, where I forget that I even need a fire—or what a fire is… On those nights, I will, from time to time, pick up the little books on my shelf. The thin books. Not fat full of thousands of pages of prose, but lean, compact, filled with words carefully crafted for maximum impact. Sonnets and plays. Short forms. Poetry, to light the fire. Tonight I picked up a small collection of sonnets and short writings by a friend-of-a-friend. A friend of my friend, who I always wished had been a better friend of mine.
The sonnets are full of sparks and I can hear the little scritching noises as I read, the flint and steel meeting and falling onto the steel wool. Inside the front cover is a letter, handwritten, and that reminds me of a time we sat at a table, plates of pasta between us. I could talk about the cheese but had nothing else to say. There was a latency to the connection. My middle class wanderings in the midwest were insufficient—I lacked exposure to the elements that would have allowed me to amplify the resonant frequency between us. I still lack. There is potential energy still passive, suppressed, and sleeping. I wonder if I will ever walk up the mountain far enough for it to become kinetic.
Still, here is the book. One of only a few copies, I’m sure. And the letter, which is only mine. And I recognize, in the words, a latent connection to something inside that has never been fully realized. A way of being—everything aligned into circles and spirals and patterns—layers and metaphor and meaning.
I ache for warmth.