We have decided to use poison. The decision was not made lightly. Still I have consented to spreading 12 canisters of toxic chemicals throughout the kitchen and bathroom. The reason is that roaches were spreading across the apartment like the ivy up Allison Conroy's dad's house in middle school, and to imagine them infiltrating my bedroom is to imagine myself taking to the streets, a suitcase in one hand and a toothbrush in the other. It is enough that they have crawled into the cupboards, the fridge, and across our clean dishes and food. I have tried the natural methods and they have failed. It is was my choice and I made it. May they all die, quickly, and may I rest in peace.
Meanwhile a mouse ran into the bedroom today, tiny and quite adorable, really, though my intent was not to ogle it but to shoo it away from the mattress by sweeping it gently with a broom. Instead it dashed across my foot and into the hole by the pipe that runs from the boiler through the apartment to the second floor. I am reminded of my own memories-- of choosing to live in a cabin with a family of mice and a lost bat or two-- and attempt to take solace in them. I have done it before.
Edwidge tells me that creation is an act of revolution, and of course I agree. Still I struggle to accept the responsibility of such a movement. To create is to release an expression into the world and watch it be twisted and crunched and rotated and expanded into something other than what you believed it was or ever would be. Thus I am learning: the responsibility lies not in the result and certainly not in the conversation, but in the making.
I imagine her climbing up that hill, thirteen hours of effort to see an old aunt whose best friend remains her deceased daughter, whose hands press hot coffee from burlap sacks at dawn. I am struck by the memory of Bangor Forest, the beginning of March and still frozen in ice. We skated our hiking boots across miles of trail, departing once from the path to sprint up a short hill. It was yellow with fallen grass, pockets of snow giving way to waterlogged soil and only the bravest of tiny green shoots. The sky narrow, textured with clouds and the memory of snow.
The star-spangled ball bounces across the crowns of our heads and tips of our fingers. He grasps it with one hand and begins to dance. I stare mesmerized as my body moves.
Two weeks ago I danced in the rain and the cold, for hours I danced and as the weather defied me I held my ground, shaking my stinging wet hair and laughing, and shouted from my mind I will not leave my people. We kept each other standing that night, and the music kept us alive. Fire burned in my torso; I knew who I was again, and knew how powerful that means.
Recently I realized that I have trouble relinquishing control of labels. I name everything I relate to, including inanimate objects, and I hesitate to allow anyone else input. Perhaps it is because I am afraid of what I will be called. So I busy myself with grand shows of perfectionism as a form of distraction while assigning names, loudly, to the new spatula and the guitar, to the cats out behind the apartment and the mice running around inside of it.
Two days ago I asked him to name the wooden fish, and though I did not like it I consented to the referent Baxter. Forty-eight hours later I would not think to call him anything else.