Tina L Porter

After the Annihilation, What Abides?

Beauty, Grace, Gratitude No Comment

Yesterday I rambled in body, doing physical things, like sorting the laundry, maybe even washing and drying a load or two, though the folding waits, as usual, like a child at the curb on their birthday for the parent who always says they’ll come but never do.

I wandered in and out of rooms, though the pedometer on my phone won’t register it because either 1) I didn’t have my phone on my body, or 2) I wandered there only in my mind, trying to remember why I wanted to go there in the first place.

I negotiated a peace treaty with a spider who decided to spin a web in the space between the backdoor and the storm door.

And I made coffee.

Today, though, my wandering stays localized between my ears. I sat down to write and wrote of such ugliness and despair (of welcoming the impending annihilation of the human species by nuclear war if that would clear the ugliness from this planet) that I scared myself back to the moment.

It was then that I looked up and saw the comic KC Councilor made for me, reminding me to keep writing letters to the world, to the birds, to Ida B. Wells. “Every Piece of Art is a Letter,” KC wrote. And then I looked up and further, to the poetry books around me and the photos and artwork around my desk, all letters, all love letters, all dreams of good and beauty.

This, I’m reminded, is what they cannot take from us (they being those whose goals are for obedience and power). They cannot take from us the love we have for each other that we share by doing laundry, or picking vegetables, or even stopping to admire the shape of a spider, silhouetted against a bright blue sky. The love we have for each other through cryptic texts (though they can obliterate cell towers that allow such texts), and inside jokes, and the memory of small hands resting in that space above the waist as the baby sleeps, sated from nursing.

These things cannot be taken from us, even as poems and artworks become nuclear ash. Even so, they once existed, connecting souls that yearn for nothing less. And so we churn out art, like chalk on the walk, that may or may not exist tomorrow, or tomorrow, or tomorrow.

Love letters splinter to dust, and, still, the love abides.

Small steps around a small house, pedometer or not, do radiate out, and it is ours to notice, to cherish, and to sing each other to sleep even when we cannot remember the sound of our own voices.

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