Betwixt, between I drift and lean.
Betwixt, between the sheets I dream.
Betwixt, between the years I’ve seen…
The year is stretched, it’s almost over, but like the tortoise inching closer to the finish line it still feels so far away. If the hare and the tortoise raced to a rainbow, neither of them would win. And if they ran for long enough they’d end up where they begin (begun).
So we begin to run towards the next year. January 1st. January 1st. Sheets fly off an imaginary calendar. Boxes marked with red Xs. Where did this year go?
Where did this year go? We’ll wake up soon and it will all be over. Like a fever dream that tangles us, sweat-dripping, between the sheets. But what’s in a year? A clock ticks and December becomes January, transfigured. A day becomes another day. Yet in the West it’s still last year a while longer.
A while longer. So we wait and we hope that as each year ends we pass through some mystical barrier that separates us from the past, like a car wash, scrubbing us clean, suds in our eyes so we can’t see.
And yet the past remains, like a blight (or bite), infected and coursing through the veins of time. Time surges downhill like a mudslide after a flood. The water is dirty and filled with rocks and snakes. Here now, give me your hand, I’ll help you up and we can both stand here on the tin roof of a rickety shed and wave our hands and scream at the rescue helicopter.
On its side the helicopter says the word NEWS and they are not here to help, they’re only here to watch as the water surges past us and the village is washed away.
And, eventually, perhaps the water will recede and only then will we see the true damage that was wrought. Beneath that dirty water lay the remnants of what was and, perhaps, what will be again. Among the ruins there are still sharp rocks and even sharper snakes.
With bare feet and wet clothes and the weight of a village on our shoulders we pad through empty streets as the sun rises. A new day. A new year. Somebody hands us a broom and asks us to help them sweep the mess away.
And so, we sweep.
This post was originally published as “28122020“.