Reasons to Not Write Today

by, Heather Keyser

I just reread a three page

piece I wrote a year ago

that I worked on for months,

and that I thought

touched on something

beautiful and true;

this time it did not move me.

*                           *                           *

My best childhood friend sent me a letter

recalling our days of ice skating

and Christmas shopping

when we were growing up in Minneapolis.

“Didn’t we have fun?” she wrote.

I cried as I read it.

Yet, it took me

two years

to write her back.

*                    *                     *

My problems made one therapist

resort to rolling his socked feet

over prickly rubber balls on the ground

under his chair

in order to fight

sleep.

*                          *                            *

I recently made a costly mistake with our

dental insurance.

*                           *                          *

I have only made people

laugh hard—

with me,

not at me—

a few times in my life.

Once was when

I made up a Biblical joke

during my born-again

Christian period.

*                           *                        *

Back when I was pregnant and supposedly

helping my sister move out of her apartment,

she and my husband struggled down the hallway

carrying a heavy piece of furniture,

and they had to stop, set it down,

and gently open the

hall door because I was on the other side,

lumbering around with a piece of coffeecake

to my mouth, cupping one hand underneath it

to catch crumbs.  They paused in their efforts,

waiting for me to pass by, before they could continue

down the hall.

I still sometimes feel how I felt in that moment—

slow, and not really helpful

in a practical sense,

a good sport,

morally supportive,

yes,

but kind of…

underfoot.

*                        *                          *

My bare arms

smell like wet summer-hair

as I hug the steering wheel

and drive.

And then my brain feels clean.

I think of school rooms

in the fall,

with windows open and the

children muffin-fed

yet alert

and still a little

hungry.

And I feel how,

in my belly,

underneath it all,

what I really want to do

is just laugh

and laugh.

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