“The real reason I chose poetry over prose is that prose is too painfully accurate at preserving memories.”
When I was four I hated waking up in the morning. A crust would build up over my eyes in the night. It made it impossible for me to open them without special drops. And I suffered from night terrors so, most mornings, I was trying, and failing, to open my eyes from a nightmare.
We got the eye drops from my pediatrician, Dr. Sachs. Dr. Sachs smelled like the plastic that turkey slices come in, and he had a long, turkey-like gullet that would gulp when he smiled. He was old and a doctor, just like my father, and he gave his patients compensatory foam airplanes after every visit. He was the first man I ever remember seeing my butt. This was when I was four and needed a tetanus shot. He gave me a Simba band-aid afterward, along with the foam airplane. I wasn’t particularly ashamed of showing Dr. Sachs my butt, but my mother was very jittery about this aspect of the visit. I could sense she thought it might be traumatic. To refocus me from my butt, my mother held my head in her hands.
My mom had a special way of holding my head when she warned people—mostly my father—that something that had happened or was about to happen would traumatize me. She’d make a basket out of her hands and fit it over my head, with a palm over each ear. This felt secure to me like a three-point seatbelt—there were redundant tensions between the hands to make sure neither of them would fail. Her voice was so beautiful when she thought I was at risk of being traumatized—she never sounded more tender or more anxious.
In musical, needling tones, my mother explained how immunization worked, and told me about tetanus, which came from rusty nails and horse feces and would freeze my jaw shut just like my eyes in the morning.
I was worried for my mom and wanted her to know I wasn’t traumatized. I lay on my stomach as Dr. Sachs prepared the injection. I kicked my legs behind me to show I was carefree, like Clarissa from Clarissa Explains it All! when she was gossiping with her friends on the telephone in bed. I asked Mom questions about immunization and how doctors make a germ dead enough to inject into someone safely but alive enough that the white cells will memorize it and kill it. Mom thought these were excellent questions, which elated me.
Throughout my life I have been aided by my distractingly good questions. If an oncologist wants to discuss a therapeutic option, I will ask many interesting questions to avoid discussing how horrible it will make me feel and how likely it is I will die regardless. I have been complimented many times on my questions by my doctors. My favorite response is when they say Hm, nobody has ever asked me that! and their faces light up with childish wonder about these deathly poisons and the human body. And I start to love their field like they do—as if a frog being dissected with a pocket knife could suddenly stretch his head up next to the school boys and go eewww, in unison with them, at his own exposed goop.
I ask about the geopolitics, economics, and research environment that nurtured this treatment into the medical mainstream. Or I will ask how the pharmacokinetics function, how the drug will dance in my body. This somehow makes me feel like I’m already taking the drug. Like the whole world is the drug, and understanding it is taking it.
I was very excited to learn that being nude in front of strangers was a source of trauma for others but not for me. It felt like having a superpower, not to be traumatized by a common trauma. This is probably because I was extremely prone to being traumatized. My mother predicted innumerable things—the Holocaust, Betta fighting fish, lactose— would traumatize me in the course of my childhood, and she was always right. The nude injection trauma is the only exception I can remember. It was like she was an oracle, and her trances predicted that this present, the moment of the trance, was to happen again and again in the future, in my imagination, as I obsessively replayed the trauma. To this day, I love parading around naked, and associate it with a kind of robustness and health. It feels, somehow, like I’m cheating fate.
One of the traumas my mother anticipated was the source of a recurring nightmare, one from which I would wake up with my eyes still sealed shut.
I was watching a low budget Power Ranger’s rip-off television show. The villain in the show had a foam praying mantis head, vaguely phallic, that spat out a cakey white stream of goop. As he turned his villainy onto some civilians, the knock-off Power Rangers in flight, my mother clamped my head in her hand-basket and told my father to turn off the television.
That night and for many nights after, I would have a dream where the villain destroyed civilization. His goop was an Idiot Potion that turned everyone in my community into an Idiot. If someone got sprayed by Idiot Potion, they would become an Idiot who couldn’t see any suffering. An Idiot would see a hallucination grafted on top of reality, in which everything was happy and pleasant. The villain would spray people with goop, and then torture other people in front of the Idiots, who would never protest.
The villain’s henchman would pin people down and stab their guts with corkscrews and spiked balls. The henchman would do this right in front of the victim’s loved ones, who were drenched in Idiot goop. There was a scene in which Sarah, from my karate class, would scream O god, help me! and her mother and father and our friends would watch, smiling and waving doofily at her, and exclaim Hee hee! Oh, Sarah you must be having the nicest tickle! I would be restrained and forced to watch, but not sprayed by the Idiot goop.
The dream’s finale is that everyone in the world has been turned into an Idiot except me and Bucky and Daniel, two of my other karate friends. The three of us are trapped in a warehouse with every person we love and the villain and use our karate to dodge his Idiot goop. In the end he grows frustrated and motions for his henchman to seize us. He decides to kill us without making us Idiots first.
Along the back wall of the warehouse are three pizza oven doors. The henchmen open them to reveal ovens that look like the ovens from Auschwitz that I saw at the Museum of Tolerance. I was homeschooled before kindergarten by my mother and she took me to a lot of museums, but my favorite museum by far was the Museum of Tolerance. On the Wikipedia page for the Museum of Tolerance, there’s a short section labeled “Criticism” that reads:
One of the primary criticisms of the Museum of Tolerance is that its exhibits use excessive multimedia technology to appeal to and manipulate the emotions of children. The museum uses fast-paced skits, dioramas, films, and interactive computer-controlled exhibits in an effort to make an emotional impact on visitors. For most of the tour, actual historical artifacts are absent, and a select few are shown at the end.
The museum had a giant steel box out of which animatronic German heads would pop up, yelling antisemetic slurs. It was the first place I was encouraged to express outrage. It was the first place I felt collective emotions. I was very good at taking on the pain of others; it came much more instinctually to me than most children my age. I would spend the entire day after a trip to the museum in the yard, dragging my feet in a circle and dribbling my basketball very slowly, as I ruminated about the Holocaust children. I wasn’t able to help them, but I could grieve for them, because they were too dead to grieve for themselves. My grief felt so urgent—like it could really help them, like it’s all they would’ve wanted. Everyone complimented my emotions and sensitivity. I loved getting these kinds of compliments. I could see, in my complimentor’s face, that I restored some bit of their faith in the world. The same as when my doctors compliment my questions, I loved receiving praise that seemed to do the other person as much good as it did me.
Most of the Museum of Tolerance’s walls were lit up with febrile, Technicolor videos, but at the back of the main exhibit hall, there was a dimly lit and silent room with showerheads running along the top of the walls and alluringly blank black screensavers for a movie-projection. People would walk into this room very quietly and a lead door would close behind them. When I first tried to step into the room, my mother grabbed my head and told me that those rooms were the ovens, and we could talk about them, but that going inside would be very, very traumatizing.
Though I never set foot in the ovens, I learned what they were through extensive lecturing. I learned about how people were given soap to trick them into thinking they were just getting a nice shower, and how they would then be turned into soap. I learned that skinny people and old people were chosen for the ovens, and that if you got too skinny they would take you there, which made me scared because I have always been underweight.
This was the room the villain’s henchman would take me to in my dream. I would be marched through the warehouse past my smiling parents saying I love you! Have a nice journey! My dreams would end as my body was forced into the oven room. The room would fill with steam and then go black, and I would wake up.
But my eyes would be sealed shut. I would shout Mom! I need my Terramyacin! and I would pull my eyelids with both hands. I sometimes pulled so hard that I pulled eyelashes out of my eyes. I could never pull my eyes open, but pulling out my eyelashes helped by making me cry. Sometimes a tiny crack would open in the eye-crust from the moisture of a tear, and I would pretend my eye was an underwater diver, who had a tiny snorkel poking into the visible world.
Sometimes, if my mom couldn’t hear me, I’d try to fall asleep again. If I managed this, it meant seeing parts of the nightmare over again, but this was preferable to laying awake in the dark. The dark was like the worst part of the dream, where I was put in the oven. And, as the dream replayed, I would be aware I was dreaming, which put me at a degree of remove. Over time, I began to enjoy the little clips of the nightmare played over again. I appreciated how the green of the villain’s head was greener than anything I saw when I was awake—that it was greener than it had been on the television. I think I understood my fear was what made it so green, and that my fear was purer here, where the image was made from scratch without my eyes and the world.
In college, when I heard the phrase voluptuous melancholy for the first time as a professor discussed Keats, I thought back to this dream, of me lying transfixed by this self-generated horror, and willing myself to sleep again and again until it was beautiful. I thought of me pulling my eyelashes out. But no matter how much I began to enjoy the replaying of the nightmare, its first appearance of the night never got any less horrifying. I sought out therapy from a psychiatrist named Herbert Eveloff, who was also my mother, father, and both sisters’ analyst. I loved him and started to model my sitting posture off of him rather than Clarissa. I still cross my legs like him to this day.
My mother asked me what I was writing about last night, and I told her I was writing about my tetanus shot. Oh! she said I know why you’re writing about that! It occurred right after a deeply traumatic experience. She wasn’t talking about my butt exposure, but the fact that the tetanus shot was necessitated by me slipping and splitting my right temple on the toilet seat at Jake’s house.
I loved telling the story about the scar I got from this accident: O, this scar! I got it when I split my head open on the toilet seat! When I was very young, I loved that I was allowed to say toilet, and people had to look concerned and not grossed out. The story was medically harrowing, but had vulgar slapstick, and it made me look a bit pathetic—and that’s the basis of pretty much any successful story I’ve told the rest of my life.
Though this accident didn’t put me in danger of tetanus, Mom was worried that Jake’s mom, fearing a lawsuit, wasn’t telling her the whole story about the toilet seat head-split. And she didn’t trust me to recall the facts accurately as a four year old—especially as memory tends to fail around traumatic events. Mom did believe that the story took place in a bathroom, and bathrooms can have rusty pipes. So, prophylactically I was revaccinated for tetanus after receiving two stitches. The stitches were done by a prominent reconstructive plastic surgeon, recently featured on the cover of the Los Angeles Times for his work reconstructing the faces of Iraq War veterans.
The Holocaust’s slogan is Never Forget. And I’ve done right by the Holocaust—I haven’t forgotten it—though I have forgotten the children whose names I learned to mourn at the Museum of Tolerance. I also haven’t forgotten the traumatizing dream of the Idiot Potion. But most of the things I remember in the meaningful sense of the word are more like the Holocaust than the Idiot dream in terms of their relationship to my interior life.
They’re abstractions, ideas, or things that didn’t happen to me personally. I remember how a gasoline engine with a carburetor works. I remember the theory of Plate Tectonics, and I remember how we only proved it in WWII, when sonar submarines discovered giant strips of magnetized rock in the ocean floor whose size corresponded with epochs of the Earth’s Magnetic Field. I remember the plot of the Sex and the City episode where Charlotte inherits the Pussy Licking Man from her friend, and learns the lesson that you can’t make a boyfriend out of the Pussy Licking Man.
My wife says I know everything and that’s why she loves me so much. But I don’t think my memory works right for things that happen to me. When I think of what the phrase I have a memory of X is supposed to mean, I think of the memory as a short, ghostly play in the mind. When you describe a memory, you’re roping language around a series of actions and activities that are happening sequentially on stage. When something happens on the memory stage, you feel the way you felt when it first happened, and you can describe those feelings too. If the memory is patchy, little pieces of the stage action have been sliced out, and the characters and props are more transparent and blurry. My memory works this way—the ‘right way’—for the Rise of Hitler or Plate Tectonics. And it works right for my Idiot dream, and with things that happened to me in the very, very near-past.
But if you go back even a little bit, my memories of what has happened to me become like sliced up photographs, and there are very few of them to find. These memories are less how the Idiot Potion dream felt in my head when I first fell asleep, and more like when I willed it to mind by falling back to sleep, and it was all flashes: the colors distorted with brightness, the emotional themes remote and garbled. Of my last three-year relationship, I can remember maybe a half dozen dates. And when I say remember, I mean in this broken way. I see half of a surreally yellow pasta dish on a table cloth, and over it, a cutout of the front of my ex-girlfriend’s hair (I have no image of the sides, where perhaps shadow hands are shielding her from the trauma of being remembered) and a smile that feels uncharacteristically wide. I also know I was suspicious of that uncharacteristically wide smile, because I remember that this date was towards the end of our relationship, and it was at a time where my girlfriend was trying very hard to reassure herself that I was still charming and impressive and brilliant.
Perhaps, with language, I could pull a half-remembered story into being about why exactly my girlfriend was smiling a fake smile. It would resemble to you a proper memory. But I would know that it had been pulled from averages of how she looked and talked and where we tended to eat. I know from the pasta that there was probably wine, and I know generally the kind of wine we drank, so now that glass of wine is on the table. Even if that wine really was there—and it really may’ve been—I only realized it because I wrote down the word pasta. This means that the language is having the memories—my soul doesn’t care enough to summon them up in silence. If I stayed frozen in silence, I just have the pasta and front-hair. I don’t want words to have memories for me—if they matter enough to me, I should be able to have them all on my own.
I remember, when I was a child, all of my memories being real—I didn’t experience any of these torn up memories. Maybe it’s just a matter of aging and running out of brain storage space, or adults having a different perception of memory than children do. It’s hard to pin down a moment when things changed, but a period of my life comes to mind—my sophomore year of college.
When I was 16, I was administered Ifosfamide, an anthracycline chemotherapy used as a first line treatment for Ewing’s Sarcoma. It is also offered to very late stage metastatic relapse patients—but at that point it’s no longer curative, it simply extends life by an average of four to six months. I have just been re-recommended Ifoasfamide after my fifth relapse last month.
A side effect of Ifosfamide in 12 percent of cases is neurotoxicity. My family was not warned that this side effect existed, and when I first started to feel its effects a couple of hours into administration, my mother thought I was suffering from a panic attack.
My brain is breaking! I repeated over and over again. I felt a purple fuzz on my tongue, and kept trying to spit it out, but as I did, I felt like I was spitting thoughts out of my brain inadvertently. And then I couldn’t get the thoughts into language, I just had to stare at them coughed up on my bed sheet, so I would say My brain is breaking! again and then spit out more of my brain as I tried to clear my mouth from the fuzz.
I did not speak a coherent sentence for a few days other than My brain is breaking and Give me the blue! which I started saying when I heard a nurse say that a way to deal with dramatic neurotoxicity was to flush me with methalyn blue. The doctors demurred on the methalyn blue because they said it would destroy the efficacy of the chemotherapy, and that the decision to introduce it would mean a discontinuation of the treatment, and Ewing’s past this first line of very effective treatment is almost always lethal.
I thought I would never speak coherently again. I think the phrase he became unstitched is a useful way to describe insanity, because it makes me think of many pieces that aren’t woven into a coherent fabric—like my memories that aren’t part of memory-stories, and like my entire mental life on Ifosfamide. A few days later I stitched myself back together by writing a short story, “Alexander and the Moon.” It’s about a world where scientists, to end irrational behavior, block out the moon by sealing the earth in two concentric spheres filled with a sea of photophobic octopi. A boy believes in love so much he suicides by catapulting himself through the glass to bring emotion back to the earth.
None of these images were influenced by the neurotoxicity—the whole story had been plotted out months before I was diagnosed with cancer. The neurotoxicity left my imagination blank and bare. When it was over I said to my mother Never again! Never forget!, and I made her say it over and over again with me, in unison, as if we were at a Holocaust memorial together: Never again! Never forget!
My freshman year I was obsessed with the thought that my brain wasn’t working—that I had been damaged by the neurotoxic Ifosfamide. After that initial trauma, we, as a family, opted to continue the treatment for its full four-month course at a much slower infusion rate that drastically mitigated the effects. It probably gave me many extra years of remission.
Even at that time, my memory of the breakdown was not much more detailed than the one I’ve shared. This helped make it easier to go back on the drug. A poem I wrote about the breakdown a few weeks after it happened seems unable to get at the specifics:
Who are you?
There’s roots inside
-full of tar and pitch.
Hit me like a double-wide
Purple tears, I cried and cried
Broke my courage- pissed my pride
I saw things, such horrible things -no man should see such things. It made me just a child to see such things. In the mirror, I saw things- and sometimes when my eyes were closed I saw such horrible things.
I read this poem to my college therapist to introduce him to my Ifos fears. It was also the first poem my college mentor read and liked saying O, the brain drugs one—that one was good! My therapist freshman year heard almost exclusively about my college mentor, my fear that I was brain damaged, and my desire to break up with my then-girlfriend, who I thought was a relic of my cancer time and holding me back.
But then, my sophomore year, I broke up with her, and my brain and body seemed to shut down much more completely. I lost the ability to eat and sleep, and my mind became monomaniacally ruminative. I was only barely aware of my surroundings—all of my days bled into endless imaginings of whether she would save me if I were dangling over a pit of lava, if it meant having to take me back, or whether I would even want her to save me.
As I fell apart, my family said to me Look at what you survived—you can’t waste your time like this. Cancer thrives on depleted bodies and minds—if you’re not careful it’ll come back!
It didn’t come back for many years, until I had already fallen completely in love with someone else. And that second person didn’t leave me until after the cancer had recurred—so I don’t think heartbreak caused my cancer, unless it takes a very long time and ignores any progress you’ve made since you were last depressed.
I’ve never read the Wikipedia page for ‘memory and trauma’ but I just opened it up and this is the first sentence:
When an individual experiences a traumatic event, whether physically or psychologically traumatic, his or her memory can be affected in many ways. For example, trauma might affect his or her memory for that event, memory of previous or subsequent events, or thoughts in general.
This is not an article I want to finish. I’m sure I would remember it too well, and it would frighten me. And that’s the thing: my memory isn’t really my friend. I only barely remember my first love, but I also only barely remember my Ifosfamide poisoning.
I used to desperately want to protect my memories. My sophomore year, during that dark spell—as the present tense seemed remote and the past tense seemed to be disintegrating—was when I became a poet. And as strange as it sounds, I did this thinking poetry would serve as my memory as my brain was breaking down. Every weird image and stagey rhetorical turn seemed to bundle away a memory, or bundle away the day I had just lived through. I thought I was writing a complicated but ultimately crackable allegory that I would be able to return to and decode. I thought I would always be able to relive the mind that made the poem—and that mind contained all that was richest and most vital about what I was ruminating on.
When I look back on these poems now, I have no idea why a troupe of baboons is descending on Achilles’ camp to fuck outside of his tent, or why a fish is trapped in a teacup and slowly becoming one giant round tail.
But I chose poetry to preserve my memories because—even though prose like this is objectively so much infinitely better at holding long, coherent, story-like memories—my memories, my memories of what I ate for lunch that day, and my memories of my ex-girlfriend who I desperately missed, were being shredded up by my mind. This is how reality felt to me in 2010.
When I write prose I think Well this is probably realistic enough to have happened, and that’s as close as I ever get to truth. When I write a poem, all I need to worry about is making sure that in the moment I write it, my mind’s eye feels very purely possessed by a memory—no matter how piecemeal or failed the memory is, it will be good enough for an image or simile—and this becomes the truth. It takes very little of my life to make those baboons. The triggering experience eventually disconnects entirely from the poem. It often dissolves entirely—I might not even mantain access to the shredded up image that was the memory—but the poem is still the truth.
When I write prose , it always feels to me like the language is leading the memory. The wine glasses all come from the word pasta. The thing is, this is probably exactly how memory always functions anyway—memories are probably always led around by language. The little memory play is informed by voices in your head, and also, if you’re remembering a dinner date, you’re remembering what somebody said. Plays have dialogue, even memory plays.
Maybe prose is just too real. Maybe more important than a realistic appraisal of what happened is one that feels like my mind could’ve summoned it up in silence. That silence seems to tell me what I care about more than anything else—since it’s the only thing I keep away from language, and thus from other people.
Maybe that’s a cop-out, and the real reason I chose poetry over prose is that prose is too painfully accurate at preserving memories. And I do not and did not ever truly wish to relive my nervous breakdown in prosaic clarity. Maybe I really needed all those memories to be shredded and mangled, and preserving them in poetry meant getting to feel like they were being saved, without keeping their wounding presence around.
But, regardless, I’m really glad that I chose the terrible memory-storage mechanism of poetry. Had I been a prose writer, rather than a poet, I would daily be confronted by how abjectly boring my life is. Childhood is remarkably repetitive. I fear that I’m boring you right now—with this handful of memories lying out on the operating table, that even I can barely distinguish between.
Day in and out of my childhood, I played with expensive plastic toys and they would break. I jockeyed for approval and complained about food while people starved. My life today is no different. I told my mentor that I thought how cripplingly boring my life is might be a matter of how privileged my upbringing was, and she told me she thought my anxieties were no more redundant than the mental life of one who has to sell gum on the street to eat. Poverty is probably just as oppressively repetitive as leisure, only with more terror folded in there to repeat ad nauseam.
When I look back on the AIM conversations I had with my friends at the time I wrote the Ifosfamide poem, I’m startled by how repetitive and boring I am. How many people needed to hear me proudly reaffirm my atheism even at a time of physical, existential crisis, in almost identical language. And how many times did those same people need to hear it over again? I have a vague recollection of copy and pasting AIM boxes over from friend to friend to expedite the transmission of my very boring stories.
Perhaps my life would be full of variety if I remembered it differently. Perhaps the great trauma of trauma is not what you suffer, but what you grow numb to, and the poverty of what remains as the violence recedes.
I spent most of therapy-life telling stories—my child shrink Eveloff heard the story of my goop-dream, and maybe that’s why I can retell it. The memories I do have of my ex girlfriends, high school dances, my sister brushing my teeth, have been kindled by shrinks over the decades.
My father was a psychoanalyst, and one of our myths at home was Repression. The dreaded Repression is what makes so many people, my father said, so crazy. The treatment for Repression is Processing. If you tell your story enough times, you never go crazy, your mind will never fragment, and you will control all of your behaviors and understand all of your thoughts.
As I’ve moved away from Freud and toward Cognitive Therapy and Buddhism, I spend less time focused on stories. My wife Victoria is a neuroscientist, and she’s taught me a lot about how the more any brain-state repeats—whether it be a paranoid question, or a depressive rumination, or the brain-motor-message to put your fist through a wall—the easier it becomes for the mind to slip back into synthesizing the brain state. It’s like a groove where the more water erodes it, the easier it becomes for water to slip into. I’m trying more and more to forget my stories, and to live in the present.
Maybe, if trauma has damaged my memory, it’s good for my Buddhism. But it’s very hard to let go of the need for someone, somewhere to remember your life. Another thing I love about my wife is how her mind requires absolutely every piece of data for her to remember something at all. Either she memorizes every step of the Kreb’s cycle, or she forgets everything about it. She chalks this up to how her mind works, and I chalk it up to her getting very anxious about constructing a whole out of chimerical parts. I think this emerged from a trauma in her early childhood, where her teachers would cut her off and yell at her for asking too many questions. Trauma pushed her memory in the opposite direction from mine—she demanding more completion where I demanded less. And, though she sees things differently, I think her memory is very sharp and she hits more times than she misses.
When I write about any memory, I fuck it up with heuristics—what people in my wife’s field called Summary Representations. These are the wine glasses that follow the pasta. I generally know how people talk, how they dress, and I fill in the blanks accordingly, and it feels horrible and cheap and all I can focus on is how spotty my memory is. Victoria doesn’t write about her memories, but with a combination of doodles, graphs, and quotations pulled from a notebook she keeps to supplement her memory, she can accurately construct a ghost-movie in both of our minds at once. She would never presume to understand the rhythms of other people or the world well enough to make anything up. She doesn’t even trust herself to rephrase what she herself says.
If Victoria only feels confident about a whole when she remembers every part, then she must remember every part of our relationship, because she feels very confident about our whole. This gives me a deeper feeling of serenity than I’ve experienced in my adult life. She’s taking care of our memories for us—she’s the perfect diary. And furthermore, since my memories with her are my happiest ones, they’re the ones I care most about preserving.
She says what she most likes about my mind is what I think makes my mind the cheapest. She loves how my mind can predict the ways her mind works. Many times a day she’ll ask me what she’s thinking, and I’ll tell her, and she’ll say You’re right. Or I will know what she wants to eat for breakfast, or what she means when she drifts off half way through a sentence about her research. I do all this using the generalizations, abstractions, and other human-nature heuristics that overwhelm and impoverish my memories.
Maybe our traumas complete one another. Maybe my great trauma is how boring and repetitive life is, and how monstrously easy it is to credibly fill in the future with the past. And maybe her great trauma is how chaotic and ultimately nonsensical life is—because, when you get beneath those little phony mental hacks that let you smooth out prose, you discover that all minds are like mine—ragged, chimeric, full of parts that couldn’t possibly support a meaningful whole.
And maybe, love is her saying nothing is true except what you say and me saying what I say works, but you taught me not to give up on the real truth beneath it working. And both of us think of the other as totally impossible people—I see her trying to store the world in its entirety like a Borges, and she sees me as someone with impossible Luck, predicting the future on the basis of nothing.
All Victoria wants is to feel safe in the future, and all I want is to feel safe in the past, so we leap for each other. We give one another our traumas as a way to make sense of the world, and we love one another’s traumas. And it’s like our whole lives we each had a mangled arm—scabrous and rotten and leaking puss. And it seemed like these limbs would keep us from ever finding love. And we are both blind, our eyes sealed shut. But then something happens. We grope out and touch one another’s eyes with our shaking claws. And the puss drips into our eyes. And they are unsealed, and they open.
Image courtesy of Lynette.