Wind. Hot dry constant. Tibetan prayer flags blown to rags on my fire escape. Heavy dirty laden with city soot. Heavy with prayers upon prayers, most un-grantable, unanswered, unfulfilled. Un-fulfillable. Who or what can grant my wish, the wishes, all of them coalesced into the one?

“We save ourselves or we remain unsaved,” she wrote, and I know what she means, but I don’t know how to do it. Not anymore. There is no savior; there is no saving. It doesn’t work that way.

Every day—every day—I wake up wanting it to be different than it is. Every day, I want my legs to feel alive in that first moment that I do, to feel the life inside them that has its own mind, the one that spontaneously leaps from the bed, or swings one over the other, and propels me out. That straightens my spine, draws me vertical, shoots my brain, my spirit, my soul, my resolve, up, up and out, toward the day with its mysteries and gifts and challenges.

Every day I want that, and every day I do not cannot will not get that, cannot make it happen, will it to happen. Certainly cannot wish it, cannot ask the wind which, after all, and in all honesty, I have never befriended, to blow it all away, finally loosen the strings binding those torn-apart gauze flags and their hieroglyphic prayers melded with my own in the only language I know, cannot ask the wind to take it all and leave me with what I came in with.

I am, I will have to be, the city-stained, sooty flag instead, grounded, bound, heavy with the darkness of un-grantable wishes, and longing for the dust and disintegration that will one day, for sure, become me.


Header photo by Corrine Bayley