The long winter is not nearly finished. Last night I spent the hours listening to my mother breathe. Occasionally she’d gasp and I'd fear, suddenly for the end. My limbs stiffened and then her breath would come again. Released from the hospital, I did not recognize her, an old woman, slurring, "I don’t want to go home."
This is my first winter in three long summers and the cold is voracious. I am eaten alive each time I leave the house, leaving chunks of my meat to stain the snow pink. I’ve spent the last three seasons teaching myself to grow big. I fattened my spirit, a calf growing marbled and luxurious under a midnight coat. I’ve said to myself, you are enough and I’ve seen it in the stars like eels, the waves crashing on black volcanic sand that spits the sky backwards. You are enough. I began to believe it was easy. This expansion, this belief in my own space.
But here I am. The thermometer outside reads eight. Flat. Even. Honest. 8° and snowing. Did you know there is a name for every full moon? This moon is the Bony Moon. Its ribs and elbows spear the great emptiness that surrounds. Its cheeks grow hollow. This is the month where not only animals die.
Tonight I left my mother sleeping and I got into the car that belongs to a girl I long for in only the inexplicable way a swell can be drawn up by a creature 238,900 miles away. I can’t tell you why, but when I see her face I have an overwhelming need to hold it between my palms, to feel her soft skin, to whisper, it’s going to be OK.
We drive in the snow, fall into quiet. For every piece of myself I reach out, I feel no pieces in return. She tells me she believes brokenness belongs to everyone. There’s no gathering the pieces, there’s no replacement of missing parts. There’s only the many ways we tell ourselves it’s going to be OK again. Or not. She tells me about the woman she still loves and the way she keeps returning to this human who beget more brokenness upon everything that was already shattered. I leave her and find my way home through the snow.
I tell myself, don’t you remember how big you are? How fat? How you rolled in the grass? You don’t need to feel so bony. It is only the moon.