Letter to L (1 of 2)


I had a nightmare around 3:50 and can’t get back to sleep.  I am glad you e-mailed me and consume your words in the half-wakeful state of a sensitive starveling.  

I’ll lay in bed for a long while, with my left hand on my right hip bone and my right arm wrapped around the left portion of my ribcage.  The rise and fall of my arms calms me – a safe feeling of being held, if only by myself.

My rapid breathing burns my lungs.  Pain is the tactile knowledge that my body is tangible. Pain lets me know I exist and must continue my day.  My heart is beating a little too fast already.  

Fuck.  I am really awake. I have to get up and clean the house for the showings.  I lay here, holding onto myself, feeling fearful of being very small. I know I am getting smaller. 

Did you know Dostoevsky invented a verb for this fading feeling? Stushevatsya – the act of gradually disappearing into nothingness. He used it more as a social concept, rather than literally wasting away, but I like it better this way.  

I listen to the birds adjust the volume of their songs to match the intensity of the growing light of dawn.  They don’t read Russian novels. I wonder how they articulate grief?

I know in my heart they can experience it. 

I whisper stushevatsya  to myself and get out of bed.

I hope my weird words find you rested and peaceful.