the map maker’s sadness

BY PEARL THOMPSON


diagnostic failure

my body sends a message mistranslated by even myself

the morse code of my heartbeat thrums a language I don’t know yet

I carry the answers in the nape of my neck and the small of my back

but there are hands to hold and candles to be burned at both ends

I call out to reality but nothing is there. my eyes swirl around,

my psyche rejects the suggestion that things will be alright

four seasons, four directions, a home, a name

and sometimes I don’t have one or any of the above

tension rakes through my body without sympathy

I fight and fight against it but it will never be my nature

the sun is too hot and I am tired

the fight continues but I fall away from the thick of it

I shuffle light-blind down the basement stairs

some days I am proud to simply be awake

pride in something small is nonetheless pride

other times my pride feels shameful, wasteful even

there is too much inside to be defined by one word

the map maker’s sadness

a topographic map of mountains under foot and under fingertips

curving of a switch-backed trail form scars that mark the tender

surface of the Earth

when you are sadder than ever, people will tell you it is temporary

it is not a comfort to know time, wind, and water have shaped the

surface of the Earth

thousands of moons in the sky but also the moon and thousands

of words to say how I exist but then I say “I wish I was below the

surface of the Earth”

we are tangent lines on the lip of a glass – we were here before

but after it ends here will not be the place we have known as the

surface of the Earth

geology is not the same as geography is not the same as geometry

we know how we formed and mapped and shaped belonging to the

surface of the Earth

sadness distorts time but in the context of mountains and canyons

we are alive barely five seconds yet our existence is a pearl on the

surface of the Earth

Poetry is written by Pearl Thompson. Photography by Rebecca Heilweil. 

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