‘This is where you are’
Milazzo by night, Bastich – Antonio
To say one is missing is to talk of perspective. You say, she is not with me. You say, he is not where I want him. There are footprints on the trail, & they lead somewhere you are nervous to follow. Stare long enough & they code like glyphs, like a language you feel you ought to know. Do they track toward you or away? You say, I will wait here. You say, I will follow them out. Words bring you no closer to knowing. Who were you to own these eyes at all?
For the first few weeks, I can’t sleep through the night. I awake to her voice like a farmer in a minefield 20 years after the war, who steps three inches to the left & in his heel feels earth shake for the tiniest instant, before what’s past comes to take him.
The international terminal is full of shadows & long breath, the sleepless dusk of waiting. Half a decade since I was last here (boneshaking motion of those years—constant, anxious). Across the water, my great-grandfather’s Sicily of cliffsides & steep, narrow roads. So many places to vanish. I’d gone searching for his fingerprints then. Kept an apartment, stayed half a year. Lost a lover back home instead—bleery months that followed, slow clumsy groping for balance. The quiet gathers in this sterile hanger—accumulates. A thing that feels necessary only because it’s been there so long.
Walls tell the same story in every room. Outside, night is a cloth dropping over a lampshade—radiant dimming, a nervous erasure. A thing happening far away. This is where you are, the walls say. It’s all they ever say.