What I’m trying to say is, you have no way of reaching me now. I have moved away from the city. I have disconnected my phone. I stopped checking my messages ages ago. Even the mailman doesn’t bother with the coupon-clippers anymore. Nobody comes here. You couldn’t find me anywhere if you looked, except that sometimes I sneak back into the city at night and leave ribbons tied to the chain-link fence behind the bar where I used to work. The ribbons are for you—I hope you find them. Maybe you will think they are sort of beautiful. Maybe you will think of my uselessness, my silence, when you think of the way a few limp, tattered tongues of silk make the alley seem like a place girls on their cigarette breaks sometimes still practice kissing as if it were an adventure. If you do, though, don’t try to find me. I don’t want to hear from you. I have deleted my Facebook account, and my Instagram. I have finished with Tumblr. Where I live now, there are no bars. No signal, and no noise. I have removed all the glass panes from my windows, and even the screens. At night, I tell my little jokes to the empty field. The crickets sing them back to me, undoing the punchlines one stringy syllable at a time. It is very lovely and lonely here, without you. The evening breeze enters my house by drawing aside the curtains just a little, and the curtains give way like flimsy ribbons on a chain-link fence. In the morning, there are wet leaves on the floor, and sometimes a spider. You have no way of reaching me—even if you loved me, even if you wanted to. This is what I’m trying to say. If you have something to say, say it. We are all of us useless now. The nightingale, the lark—they have outlived their sonnets, and gone back to the namelessness they were singing about.
Alison Leigh Lilly nurtures the earth-rooted, sea-soaked, mist-and-mystic heritage of her ancestors through poetry and creative nonfiction. She is a columnist for SageWoman, and her writing has appeared in publications both in print and online, including Stirring, Eternal Haunted Summer, 7×20 and Third Point Press. You can learn more about her work at http://alisonleighlilly.com.
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This is so great. I recently moved to Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom and it feels very much like this. By the way, I got here via Lora Mathis’s Summer Love List on Hello America.