by Ashley Cline
it was a quiet hurt. there’s no other way to describe it, really. it was a tired sadness that turned over the drawers & the cabinets & the closets of our mouths & placed the contents, belly up, on the kitchen table. we’ll sort this all later, we said. & we thought we meant it, then, as we busied our hands with the emptying of boxes & basements & hearts. we thought we meant it as we tied tiny seismographs to our wrists & measured the fragile earthquakes that hitched themselves between our ribs—such fault-full things, we were: those days.
we thought we meant it as we fed our minds weather patterns & floor designs just to keep from thinking too deeply of the rope burns we were nursing; the rope burns we were certain were from holding on too tight. the rope burns we were certain were from holding on at all. we thought we meant it as we busied our bodies like moths crashing against the paper shores of one another. & we thought we meant it as we flitted from room to room: just looking for a light source. just looking for an open flame. just looking…
& when there was nothing left in the house, when there was nothing left to look for, we finally grieved for the home that we’d lost—& we thought we meant it.
Art by Steve Johnson, on Instagram @artbystevej