Apéritifs: In the months leading up to the release of our book A Single Throat Opens, a collaborative lyric exploration of addiction (with Michael Schmeltzer), we will be compiling a playlist pairing songs with new writing to be enjoyed before the main course. Cheers, friends. (Get the whole list here.)
Only the Winds
Since I was a child, I’ve collected words. Words I will never use out loud, will never write into an essay or poem, words that only exist on index cards tucked throughout my books, scribbled in notebooks, hastily written on receipts. Like the word for the smell of the sea. For early morning rain. For the restlessness that pools in my feet.
I want to name everything before it drags me under. Anxiety swells in my chest, presses my lungs down, tries to gulp for air. When there is so much unknown and you want to know it all, even the slightest wind feels like too much – where does it come from and what will it bring with it?
An offing is the “more distant part of the sea seen from the shore, beyond the anchoring ground.” It is past what is known, it is past knowing. And what is beyond that? More sea? More wind?
What do we call the first moment our feet enter the sea and that chill runs up from the ground and welcomes you home? What do we call waving the ship off to sea, not knowing where it goes or when it will return? How do we name grief for something that never was?
Is asking a question a way of naming? I want to say all this with another tongue.