A steel schooner
in the desert near Yuma. Sitting there while the cactus grows up slowly around
it—sitting there for years now. We saw a video showing the man when he was
still alive. He was pointing out where everything was going to go. The
bulkheads, the galley, the booth, where you’d sit and have your breakfast.
Pointing everything out fast, antic.
And there was the picture of his
wife and two daughters—one sticking her tongue out at the other. One of them
had what the yacht broker called “special needs.” I wondered if she’d gotten
brain damage later, falling from something. Maybe the half-built deck, onto the
hard earth down there. On the jackstands the deck must have been 20 feet off
For sale, this ship of the desert. A
half-built, clean-lined piece of metal. Empty tunnel.
I wonder if they’ll ever sell it. This
is the kind of project that could take years, thousands of dollars. We could
truck it down to Mexico and put a team of guys on it and it still wouldn’t be
worth much in the end.
It’s just somebody’s dream, lost out
in all that sunlight—not even rusted yet.
Something about the jets
flying over, screaming wind onto the runway, people going places. I love listening
to the rastafarians on the bus—there are lots of different religions here, I
tell Tallulah, and she asks, “Do they believe in the crossroads?”
I guess we believe in the crossroads. Our life is a perpetual
crossroads, it seems. Anchored below the university, I feel at peace. I wonder
if I should apply for a job here. But maybe there’s something else I am invited
to learn. Be here now. It’s a cliché. On the other hand, it’s the most profound
wisdom. Isn’t that the way it always is?
Copyediting a book about women’s cancers, it’s hard not to ponder
the meaning of life.
This is what I’m learning from sailing: don’t make plans. Prepare
as if there is a future, but know deep down there is only this density of now.
On the bus, the length
of the island, taking our cat Daisy to the vet with the life seeping out of
her. The sweep of the bay, the cruise ship, a crowd of tourists waiting in line
to get on the shuttle that will take them back to the boat. Cruise director
wearing black shorts and a blue polo shirt. Like Julie on Love Boat. Was that a show for adults? How many of my ideas about women
and men, and life at sea, have come to me, slipping in, from Love Boat?
I am a freelance copyeditor, traveling to foreign ports. One who
does not belong. There is something powerful about always being a stranger. I
have come to cherish it. About doing my work, which, quite honestly, I do not
The air blows cool off the sea. I have a revelation—something
dawns on me—something about how the only thing that’s ever gotten in my way is
me, myself—it slips away, turning the corner to pass the old people’s home,
where once on the way to the grocery store I saw a twisted body being brought
out, mouth agape.
Traveling to school
by dinghy, I wonder what that does to your brain--the splash of the oars, the way the water moves under the shallow hull. The morning light has begun to gather
at the mouth of the bay like a waiting audience. Soon nothing on this earth
could please it. The same dogs
bark, and people shout across the road about ham and cheese. Newly hatched chicks run after their mother.Tallulah goes up
the stairs to her class. I define “ostentatious” and “inveigled.” Rowing back
across the bay is like being in slowed-down time, eternal, perfect time.