Eudaimonia

by em jollie

“If you meet a woman…who sails her life with strength and grace and assurance, talk to her! And what you will find is that there has been a suffering, that at some time she has left herself for hanging dead.” — Sena Jeter Naslund, Ahab’s Wife

The landscape of Western Mass sprawls, mute
as a Rand McNally and as full of invisible
histories.
From the top of Mount Sugarloaf I see scrawled topographies
of rape, brutality, magic: bruised ingredients.
Untidy childhood. Long ago I climbed these mountains
and came down the other side. Mostly

unscarred, I have returned to New England
for this: the way fire brushes brilliant hues
across a canvas of foliage. For this: the way
wind lends wings to the leaves
in their terrific tumbling.
And for this: the hovering of bumblebees,
busy with the instinct to savor
their last days (sweet like honey
and difficult to swallow).
I have come back to this campus, too, to my
books — pages bound
to radiate reason, meaning,
a certain steadiness. I meet
a man named Marcus Aurelius
who, through a fissure in time, whispers
there is only the present. I know he is not
lying — I have never been that shattered little girl.
I have always been this strong
young woman
who refuses the choreography composed
by her memories and chooses, instead
the song of each new Autumn
morning:

there is only this day
there is only this dance
& all I need is the melody
of my one self, infinitely

Open.


Journal, Volume 2 Issue 7