The story of it all
There is always a way to find the path forward except when except when. The path forward they say. I know they say a lot of things about other things. I kn ow that I have known many things over time. I forget how it is to be in the light and then I remember. When you’re tell ing a story about what it’s like in the light the story pulls you back there and when you’re trying to re member what comfort is it’s just th at you can’t see the frame the day the dark anything to make it have made sense at any time. The path pulls you back to the light and the light pulls you back even further and somehow the day in front of you is gone and when there is a time in future to ex plain all this I will want to hear that explanation come from my own throat. It is so often silent in there. It was so often silent in there. I am so often not there in that throat where all those bones live without me knowing their names. All those soft fleshy tissues. I find it hard to find myself again after these gaps after these little absences from my self. Sometimes I imagine a moon gate, just a little circle to walk through back to myself. I don’t know where to build it and what bricks to use. The absences happen now irregularly and time finds me in any case.
You just keep doing it until it’s done. That’s usually what happens. Every new body you touch is different. This one is hollow and the sounds echo around in it like we knew anything but we don’t know anything. I don’t know how many times I’ve admitted to knowing nothing but it seems like it’s going to continue onward and upward. You’re less than 500m away. Maybe 100. The balance strikes nine like a house on the boil. Delaying it and delaying it and delaying it over time and after years and let me remember nothing apart from you. Nothing apart from looking into your face or resting my cheek on the clavicular head of your pectoralis major, your thoracic wall. You are a third of everything. Maybe more than half. The big words press against the small ones. The small ones. Come with me. Let’s shake ourselves apart and together again in a bed of our own making. What if I die here now? What if I am already dead? What if the clock is backwards. What if you shave your head and we end up lying together surrounded by a single failed attempt at something. I’m only one single failed attempt at something. That is all, your honour. I have nothing else to add. I was set to rise in the morning and the proofing lasted too long and now I don’t know what to tell you about my ability to form a crumb let alone the crust you’re expecting. I am not half baked. I am barely briefed for departure. The tickets did not arrive. I have not packed a bag. I do not have my boarding pass. None of this is possible. I will simply ask you again what my name is. Then I will look at him with the hunger, the hunger, the hunger of years and hours and days. There are thousands, your honour, thousands. You don’t even know where the start is and I honestly am not providing a map. It’s not my thing. It’s not even in my remit, usually. It’s not even the time to ask me to say a word, a word. You stopped listening at crust didn’t you. I stopped telling myself anything after a short while in your presence. I was just done.
Emma Barnes (Pākehā, they/them) lives and writes in Aro Valley, Pōneke/Wellington. They released their first book this year, I Am In Bed With You and are co-editing an anthology of Takatāpui and LGBTQIA+ writing from Aotearoa with Chris Tse. It is to be released at the end of 2021.