The Machinery of Family and Industry


Living an ordinary life requires such an extraordinary weight of toil. Bones ache trying to keep the machinery of family and industry running. Bodies break down faster than hope and every year the effort to keep your mast full of push grows trickier and more fraught with birds tangled in the ropes and broken compasses crushing your internal sense of place and time. Sailing blind for the first time, rushing the moon with the mascot of your dreams speared hard on the bow, still rushing with blood, sends you sprawling with your heart off the deck, deep into the roiling waves, sucking you down and down and deeper down.

Muffled through cotton quilting your grandmother would have made if she’d known how, you can’t open your eyes yet. You can’t wake up yet to this still morning. You can’t lay your wrists open to the knives waiting for you. You have to ask yourself questions you haven’t dared ask before, you’ve got to listen to the voices you’ve tried to drown with the flags that betrayed your allegiance and bit hard into your faith. They wait for you, just beyond this moment, just beyond this light. Wait here, a minute longer, and talk to me. Tell me what ropes hold you under, hold you back, hold you down. Let me study the knots, let me loose your voice and your wrists and your grief.

Living an ordinary life takes an extraordinary weight of toil. MusicĀ  buoys the weary, dulls the repetitive cut across the quick, reminds us why we keep at it when everything feels like suffocating slowly. Take this breath of mine, take my last blood, take the bread I broke into crumbs…take it all. I am nothing without sharing. I am nothing without the music of voices from other rooms. I am nothing without the laughter you can’t help but loose when you feel safe enough.

You don’t need a compass to navigate your way home.

You only need to call to me and I’ll help you fight to shore.

I have no need of lungs, I’ll breathe for you.

Come home to me.


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