Looking for the right words / by Christina Rosalie

Tonight at the writing workshop I try to untangle a little more of the story I am attempting to put down in ink. The people I write with are an mismatched, well read, easily humored crowd who all have day jobs. We sit around eating pretzels, discussing the virtues of present tense. They ask me about my dad. I try to explain how my relationship with my father, who died nearly four years ago, has been evolving in a one-sided way since then. Sometimes it’s hard to locate him in my memory, except in freeze frame images. Snapshots. Mostly, I can’t help looking through the lens of the present: dissecting who he was, his beliefs and flaws. I know that then, when we were in our relationship, I couldn’t see outside of it. I know I didn’t analyze his beliefs in the way I do now, measuring them against my own. The seam between my thoughts and his was often blurry. I loved his way of thinking. His persistent, disciplined way of examining the spiritual world through meditation and questioning. I loved how he could apply logic to the fixing of a broken radio, or the cutting of a fallen tree.

After he died, for weeks, months, the first year even, I could call to mind his face, his smile, his fierceness, and our love was very present. Now, I spend hours hunched at the computer, my body mirroring his posture, writing about the ways I’ve been shaped by him. It’s a strange shedding process that is taking place. I’m slipping out of the skin of my childhood as his daughter and fitting into my own. I am gathering myself up—finding abundance in one hand, loss in the other.

Looking for harvest

I beg for you now, your absence is an ache like a sadness at new moon. A craving for touch, a shock when I look at familiar photos and know those bones and skin, are not around the corner.

I do not know my feelings now. Cannot grasp onto any understanding of moments or metaphors. You hang like a crescent moon in my heart a sliver, a sickle, a tool of harvest.

Yet I do not know the fields where I can go walking to find your abundance. I know not where to find the round fruits of your love.

So I wait. Polish the scythe. Hold on to my heart.