A compass of ordinary things / by Christina Rosalie

By Wednesday night I can hear my heart thud, thudding in my chest as I wait for a glass to fill with water, or scrub the dinner pots and pans after the boys have gone to bed. It is a hollow drum in the hull of my chest; my rib bones lifting and falling shallowly, more fragile now, after days with too little sleep and so much to think.

I seek out the basket of laundry, rumpled from a day left waiting; shirt sleeves inside out, socks always mismatched, and find solace in shaking out the wrinkles with a quick flick of the wrist, my fingers smoothing the cotton of little pajama shirts; the denim of pair of after pair of jeans. I let myself become lost in the folds, in the process of folding; the bed where I am sitting filling with tidy categorical stacks: napkins, linens, little boy clothes, mine, his. It’s Wednesday, the end of my classes for the week, the day when I feel the cumulative lack of sleep spill out unevenly in my mind, my thoughts like so many mismatched socks.

I’ve discovered this is the only way for me to be: wholly here, heart thudding, and then here again, wholly.

Here is anywhere. Here is this moment with a random fat fly buzzing heavily about my studio; my keys clacking. Here is in the car driving home in the golden light of late autumn (the leaves are mostly fallen now; the ones that remain are rust and ocher.) Here is scooping Sprout up, his hands covered with green marker marks, and pressing my face into his sweet sticky curls. Here is telling my sweet wide-eyed bean a story about two chickens and a hedgehog on a raft. Here is now, and mine is a compass of ordinary things.

What holds you in your life? What makes it possible for you to do, and do, and be, more, again, day after day?