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mulatu astatke, tezeta
today for a freewrite i told my students to write about the rain.
What the hell is gonna make it worth being here while the world hurricanes and quakes? While Frisco twists off a cliff one more thick root left. While my godmother’s rage cannot leave the bed or her body and she misses my cooking? While my mom’s eyes sparkle in retirement and she no longer holds her tongue. What the hell is gonna make it worth it if the stories are not coming?
Maybe the tears need to flow before the words do. Maybe each of my words is someone I love trapped in a house spinning inside a gang of hurricanes and I have to walk right through the front door and save them. Maybe I ain’t really shit and most definitely not a heroine and my words don’t need a saving. Maybe I’m here because I chose them and they chose me, we asked each other to the dance at the same time so I show up and my words are late as payback for all those times I flaked. And this dance lasts three years anyway so stop my crying.
Maybe I can finally let all the voices in my head come out and introduce themselves as the separate and divine guides they are, pressed butterflies flat between pages for so long. I’m sorry I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry that candles and water and prayers were not nearly enough for you. I’m sorry for all the times I took your breath away, I lowered the sky until it became a low ceiling and you tall proud ones had to bend half your size. I’m sorry I mistook the harshness in your voice for punishment when you were really only an older smoker version of me speaking the wisdom of god. I’m so sorry that I broke my own heart when my heart was the only pair of rollerskates I owned as a little girl. What can I do now to show you that it’s safe and sound?
I will let the words spill out the morning sleep from my eyes.
I will cry to the sweetest music I can conjure up. I will play it for eight hours straight and leave all my doors and windows open so each song sails through as it pleases.
I will not leave you alone even when it feels like I’m the one who’s by myself.
I will make this a place of worship for you, but please be patient I’m still learning how to be humble like that.
The rains here are good and intense. A downpouring tropical rain that washes off the mild-manners of the mid-west. A rain that is close cousins with the ocean. A rain that makes me stay home on a late Friday afternoon and cry folding laundry. I lift my head to catch the sky broken open into many silvers. Steadying me just enough.