Temporal Everyone I talk to lately seems to be mediating on the passage of time. It goes so fast, they say. Almost in chorus. It’s the greying in all of our hair, or the effect of being holed up for two years, twenty-four months that have felt like a decade of worry and anticipatory grief. Of course, we are creatures that have an inevitable terminus. There are a variety of words for this truth. Crapshoot and shitshow both come to mind. Funny how scatological such terms are, indicating how we truly feel about the ultimate away and, in some cases, our lodging here. I munch another bite of the remnants of a creature that met its demise to sustain me for a few more hours. I contemplate how the past is not real anymore, and neither are my speculations of the future. The body bears the mark of all but everything eventually becomes memory or a vague sense that someone, even someone much like us, used to be here. Forest Paths I can still trace the way our feet fell where few other feet stood, I would walk further ahead, always drafting in my mind. The comic books and adventure stories I built with each step, while you, my father, walked just behind me, the sound of our family hunting dog lapping and sniffing. That time when I was younger, when you threatened to cut our walk short. I must have deserved it, but said: “If I come back without you, no big deal, but if you come back without me, you’re in trouble, mister.” What was I thinking to speak to you in such a way, but you and Mom laughed about that for years, probably still telling that story whenever you can. Did you know I still go back when life is full to those quiet places, where I can hear wind moving through the trees of memory? It’s true. My brain still finds that place where the forest grows denser, past the well-trod path, rounding curves and bends, being careful of stray dogs and spiderwebs, to go to places few others go. I will always be a creature of the woods. The Fringe So, here I am. Always on the edges. Wondering what word captures me. Belonging and never belonging. Maybe I’ve always fit in somewhere and just haven’t seen it yet. A figure from the fringes, do I love? Of course I do, trying my best to hold the affection for neighbors that I ought to hold for myself (that I work on holding for myself). Yet, always at the edge, somehow, at the corner of the room, looking in. A describer’s heart, an ethnographer’s mind.
JD DeHart is a writer and teacher. His latest poetry collection, A Five-Year Journey, is available from Dreaming Big Publications.