Last night she looked me in the eye and told me she’d do anything I wanted, go anywhere I wanted. Before sunrise she tried to stab herself in the belly with a little knife. Not the sharpest knife in the place – but still. I had to hold her down for a while.
“Honeybee, we can’t keep doing this,” I say. “We have to stop.”
We are sitting on the floor at the miniature table in Charlie’s room. We are too big for the white chairs. We don’t want to break them, even now. You might not think we’d be in that room, but it is the most comfortable place to sit. It has the softest carpet, anyway.
“We’re no good, babe,” she says. “I feel like we should just die.”
She is telling the truth, as far I can see.
We sleep a little, right there on the green carpet.
The sun is up when I open my eyes. She is awake too, but she hasn’t moved.
“Do you want me to fix us a drink?” she says. “So we can figure this out.” “Sure, honeybee,” I say. “If that’s what you want.”
She gets up and takes the two empty glasses from the table and opens the door and walks out of the room.…
We went out at midnight to see the sun touch the horizon.
There was so much meaning attached to a simple act of angular geography.
It hung there, suspended, like breath before a wish arranges itself
And the world went white and the water and the air and we closed
our eyes for the blackness
And when we opened it was light again,
just like we always knew it would be.
– Emily Shearer
Author’s Note: My teenage son went to Iceland last year with a school group; his stories of the midnight sun inspired this poem. With it, I wanted to capture the optimism of youth.…
People never come here knowing. They just see the little town when they stay out at Mickey’s. They walk out on the beach there and that’s when they see it. When they peer just around the bay and see a few houses in the lips of the next cove. But they don’t get it. They trickle through lemon trees on the edges of the town as if it were some open bazaar, buying little pieces of us as they walk by. Stare right at us with quarters for eyelids. Blinking, staring, picking us up off the shelves, stuffing houses and children and the warm rose succulents right under their eyelids. They drag the whole town through the dirt by the knots in their shoe laces.
And then they walk into that market and don’t pay any attention to the jagged lines in the old yellow paint, don’t even notice the threshold of sucker plants potted on each side of the door, swelling when they walk by. They walk inside and maybe pick up an apple. And the Keep will do the good thing. He will look them out of their wallets and he will pull it from their hands and take a big bite out of it.…