Sometimes gazing out into the universe —at a night sky, say— takes me in and in and in, just as looking in on the world of dreams and thoughts, takes me infinitely out.

Oh Longing, my life feels too tight for the bigness that is you, my outlets inadequate for what wants expression, and sometimes it feels like you will break me.

I wake in the night, my leg still convulsing, the pillow beside me warm, your taste —so bitter, so sweet at once— still on my lips. The air is still thick with you. I reach for you but only barely touch your fringes as you slip out the door.

Always you leave. And I am left with a vast… um… (words, don’t fail me now!) lonesomeness?

I don’t know. I’ve always called what you leave me with lonesome, but really, I don’t know.

Could you be the stallion trapped in my chest?

Sometimes you get out. It’s as if you’ve broken the confines of my chest, galloped up ahead, then stopped to call back to me:  “Come, come, come! That place right there? That place so tight and small and careful where you are? That’s no place for you, for me, for us. Come, my darling, come!”

There you are bucking wildly as if to say, “Here, here, here!” You seem so far away but never so far that the ground can’t carry back to me the sound of your stomping hooves. Because it does. And I feel you, pounding in my chest.

Oh Longing, you are the longest word, so forever forward and back, in and out, ancient and infinite at once.

I want so much. It’s like the barefoot lady with wild hair said the other day: “Darlin’, you’re driving a mac truck down a bike path there!” And even though she was talking specifically of a certain lover, the metaphor fits for you, too. (And anyway, wasn’t he just you made flesh?)

Oh Longing. You are an odd, faraway country to me, and yet I am from you. When I hear your language it is familiar in the way of a mother tongue I once sang, laughed and spoke in with ease. I move my mouth to make a sound in you. The sound that comes makes no sense, but you throw back your head wildly and gallop ahead again.

You slay me. Even while I beg for more.


The big Maple in front of the church has lost every leaf but three which hang there as if to remind us that in another season, it was, and it will be again, thickly clothed.

November is so suddenly dark, so cold then warm but always, somehow, getting colder. The trees are going in and in and in, even while their branches reach so bravely, still, out.

About elisabethwithaness

Writing out loud at Apropos of Nothing
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