IS THIS JANUARY
Is this January? Dear page 31, My mother doesn’t trust her instincts, so it took me 20 minutes to drive to the next exit, turn around, get back on the freeway and find the dollar store. I hadn’t meant for the line to be saucy, but the whole page pulses and ripples beneath. What do I mean by “like” a language? This is the end, and I’m not explaining anything. I’m signing off as the person I am in this instant.
Is this January? Dear page 30, Last week my mother said her dad had Chinese blood and her mother royal, appearances being contrary. It might have been today that we kissed in a cemetery under a midnight sheet of snow. Strange choices, but you saw my hometown and that didn’t change a thing. I keep talking about you and my mother, which means I was still searching for love like a womb. In Thailand I want to make out with a dee who won’t be weirded out when I tell her I’m attracted to toms too.
Is this January? Dear page 29, I don’t want to give you my weight. I’m nearing the end, and I’m not waiting for you either.
Is this January? Dear page 28, I don’t want to tell you anything.
Is this January? Dear page 27, In order to move you have to shift your weight through your pelvis.
Is this January? Dear page 26, Some years start in April. Some Januaries are false, others actually points of take off. I’m going places, and I’m so glad that you’re far enough away in time that you’ve completely disappeared.
Is this January? Dear page 25, My stomach was up hungry last night thinking about MAMA kow soy and what it’s gonna be like, which is unusual for T minus 40 days. Or is it? A month is long enough to anticipate an arrival that turns out to be nothing like I imagined.
Is this January? Dear page 24, I got sick many times worrying about the future. You sent individually wrapped packets of sleepytime tea with notes saying, “I’m here.” I can’t believe I actually believed that.
Is this January? Dear page 23, With a sore beak I cut out every organ rotten with fever. I eat pho ga. Even without an internet connection I have feelings.
Is this January? Dear page 22, Ga dam. I am a scary crow, an outsider. I would rather read the text behind you that your body partially obscures.
Is this January? Dear page 21, In a dream I am crossing an intersection burnt harsh white. I can’t see anything, but I continue to cross in slow motion before what I know is sure to hit. This is just one of many recurring dreams in which I am moving forward without really knowing what comes next.
Is this January? Dear page 20, I just hit BUY on SFO – BKK roundtrip. The slash between two halves that is both a deletion and an international date line.
Is this January? Dear page 19, I don’t have anything to say about Neruda. Today I discovered that there’s an entire lifestyle magazine dedicated to toms, and a hot luk kreung tom named Zee. OMG, I think I’m a lesbian.
Is this January? Dear page 18, I used to stuff these letters into my joints and jambs – the source of all the mystery and the creeking. A creeker is what they called kids who lived by creeks that always flooded. When I was landlocked I missed hearing that sound. I missed swaying side to side as a way to move closer.
Is this January? Dear page 17, I was talking to you on the phone when you said, “I think this would be really good with scallops.” I wrote this before I met you, so of course this page foreshadows the giant pelvis ship we have yet to build. In Susan Howe’s “The Midnight,” there is a slip of paper on which someone wrote, “we without cannot – haunt.” I am a miniature submarine floating in the fog on the Vancouver set of “The X-Files.” “why huntress / why fathom.” I’m glad this “you” isn’t you.
Is this January? Dear page 16, I called my mom today. No one picked up the phone.
Is this January? Dear page 15, In junior high I still thought I was conceived through a partition. This is related to my fear of touch.
Is this January? Dear page 14, Six years ago my eyelashes froze while waiting for the bus. Even through four feet of snow and state lines I obsessively checked my email.
Is this January? Dear page 13, Erosion. Erasure. “She left me standing on the mountain. She left me standing there.”
Is this January? Dear page 12, Seven years ago today I wrote, “can’t think of anything else to say.”
Is this January? Dear page 11, John Yau wrote, “It is January, and you are in Bozeman, Montana. I thought I would begin this while you were in the air, above the floor plan of the clouds, their exhumed disarray and brittle gleam.” The difference between your hand and “when” is a falling vowel.
Is this January? Dear page 10, I have this I <3 MOUNTAINS bumper sticker. The people who think the mountains in WV aren’t really mountains are stupid.
Is this January? Dear page 9, I’m good at putting words between us.
Is this January? Dear page 8, I used to have this letter opener, but it was always easier to use my hand. It’s not like this is an actual conversation.
Is this January? Dear page 7, I think I was remembering a certain yellow hill on a postcard, and a yellow hill with yellow grass. Both are places that no longer exist. The postcard – ash. The hill – sold.
Is this January? Dear page 6, Writing to you today is harder. I wanted to make some joke about GPS navigation systems, iphones and tracking devices. I wanted to locate you in space. P.S. I hated living in Boulder, but you already know that. Even the nostalgia for West Virginia, for two syllables in Thai script, is less visceral than a desert infected with whiteness. I was so sure I wanted what was most difficult to describe.
Is this January? Dear page 5, It took me years to write that letter. For years I only moved my right hand.
Is this January? Dear page 4, Syntax shapes text like the specter of your body / my spectral desire shapes my loss, which is becoming more meaty than ghost.
Is this January? Dear page 3, I thought it would be cheesy to insert myself into the sentence like that.
Is this January? Dear page 2, I laid cloth over a map stuck with sticky tack to the wall. I turned the wall over to be continued. The ink is so dry I can’t even bleed through to the beginning.
Is this January? Dear page 1, I laid cloth over a map and wrote you a letter without ever leaving my shoebox room with the one dull red sharpie.