Today, the back walls of my lungs went sticky with sadness. I cried/breathed through the dead hours of the morning then woke up to a sky that felt like the dullest sheet of paper smacked down over this big old rock of a planet. On rising, I offered puffy eyes and apologetic kisses.

This sheet of paper sky cannot be cut. This sticky left lobe cannot be cleansed. Not today.

Two days ago, I finished writing a book with a chapter in it about a woman my partner and I once loved. A few days ago, from a place opposite of where I am, through a medium my partner does not partake in, the woman announced that she’s many months pregnant.

Two days ago, I finished a book with a chapter in it about a man I once drove with in a smoky, sun-baked car. Years ago, when I googled him, there was nothing. This time, I found a listing for his literary agent and a report about a group of men arrested for solicitation in a suburban hotel.

Two days ago, I finished a book with a chapter in it about falling in love with the man who, this morning, listened to my sticky 3am sobs. Despite his hand on my hip, then on my sternum, that love feels lighter than it did at first. Light enough to float, not away, but out.

Three days ago, I chipped the back of my bottom, front tooth on a kernel of popcorn. For the first day, my tongue couldn’t resist the roughness of it and my mind kept following my tongue to the change. The next day it was less bothersome, but the broken outline was still traceable. Today, I can barely feel it. My mouth is smooth again, or nearly so.

Because of this and all the other sadness on this sad, old rock today, the back of my lung puckers into itself. And all the water of me cannot clear it.

Tracy Burkholder is a writer living in Portland, OR. Her debut book, I Want More is a lyric hybrid of memoir, poetry and image published by Summerbear Press. Available here.

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