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27 Sep 2020

Day & Night

Day & Night

Day is breakable. We say it breaks. It isn't here until it's broken.

When I was a child (a teenager, a young adult, the age I am now) I loved the night. The eyes of others, the eyes that watched my stiff carriage and eccentric gait, were closed. The ears that judged my apparently odd speech ("What kind of accent is that?") weren't listening. No bullies loomed, no adults, no friends I was afraid I'd lose. No questions demanded that I guess at a normal response.

I have depression. I have panic attacks. I have systemic sarcoidosis. We all have things. I've never been officially diagnosed, but my therapist believes I'm on the autism spectrum. We're all somewhere.

The first time I wanted to die, I was in the 3rd grade. Breezing through a ridiculously easy arithmetic worksheet, I suddenly had an intuition of the immense total of days I still had to live through. The weight of that much life, that much time I'd have to be me (which was hard work) was crushing. I laid down my pencil and left the assignment unfinished.

I've lived through a large number of those days.

Night is permeable. Everything sinks into night. Sometime. It doesn't have to be now.

Meanwhile, I'm broken, I'm here.

-- Carl Bettis


Image info: Unkown distress feels like happiness, copyright 2020 by by Carl Bettis, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

27 Sep 2020

Watkins Mill, 9/22/2020 (haibun)

Haibun: Watkins Mill, 9/22/2020

In a Missouri state park, sitting outside a camper that belongs to my brother-in-law and his wife, drinking cabernet from a coffee cup, I read a book. Theoretically. A dangling branch swings in the soft wind, a bird loops through the trees, a leaf falls 30 feet. I hear a whine in the air: a yellowjacket hovers near my head. I've slathered on bug spray, but it settles on a recently-washed hand. I wait, and when it doesn't move, I wait. When it doesn't move, I puff a gentle, wine-scented breath towards it. The yellowjacket leaves. I wish I'd waited longer, until it was ready to go. It probably didn't have anything to tell me, but still...

I ignore neighbors, but
slanting sunlight
smells of woodsmoke

-- Carl Bettis