“Following further investigations, including tests in an archaeometry laboratory, it was discovered that layers of binding agent and a layer of dirt existed between the image of Cupid and the overpainting. The conservators concluded that several decades would have passed between the completion of one layer and the addition of the next and therefore concluded that Vermeer could not have painted over the Cupid himself.” Statement issued by the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Dresden, Germany, upon unveiling Johannes Vermeer’s ‘Girl Reading Letter at a Window’ fully restored to reveal a previously-hidden painting within the background
back-bent dedication lingers
over minutest detail,
flecked upon a scalpel’s edge
scraping back the trauma of decades
and a different generation’s shame
until painstaking years recover, at last,
brightly togged and hopeful:
love’s plum-ripe promise.
Continue reading “Restoration”
Pilots don’t talk.
Pilots only yell.
ROGER TOWER CLEAR TO OPTION OVER – NEGATIVE CONTACT ON VISUAL – SKYHAWK ONE NINER FOXTROT CHARLIE TANGO ON APPROACH
A full year of Saturdays spent in the air, and this is what the girl has learned. (Not that she hadn’t heard yelling before.)
But maybe if the pilot wasn’t wearing an enormous headset. Maybe if she wasn’t wearing earplugs. Maybe if the airplane’s single front propeller wasn’t so loud it makes her tummy queasy and even the drugs her mom makes her swallow each time before takeoff don’t stop the airsickness so finally she starts wearing earplugs as the only thing that lets her fly without vomiting into a bag.
Maybe if the pilot wasn’t her dad.
Or if she had chosen to be here, or could choose to leave.
Even if she could just understand what lesson this weekly punishment with the plane and the shouting and the long silences is meant to teach her—or at least when it will stop, when she will finally be seen as having learned her lesson enough to go home—maybe then she might be learning something more than shouting.
SKYHAWK ONE NINER FOXTROT CHARLIE TANGO
But, she thinks, also maybe not.
Continue reading “Fracture Mechanics”
Brief meditation on the current news and the nature of survival. (Heads up for topic of sexual assault/triggering/Epstein.)
♦ ♦ ♦
Yesterday, I read the charges filed against co-defendents Epstein AND Trump for their numerous violent sexual attacks on the same 13yo girl in 1994. It was awful, but I’m used to awful—and the almost-clinical tone of most legalese is generally easier to get through than more evocative writing on the same subject.
And then there were a few words, a halfway-rendered visual image in my head. . . suddenly I’m dizzy, light-headed : my arms are burning : : it hurts to breathe : : :
More than 12 hours later, I still can’t say to you what those words were. Not that I don’t know, you understand. I am perfectly clear what tripped the trigger, but they are surrounded by a giant bubble of silence and darkness that threatens to pull me back in each time I reach to pull those words out.
I’ve been here before.
Maybe you have too. In which case, we both know we’ll be here again, at some unpredictable time.
Expectation of the unexpected.
Continue reading “Awe”
I need shelter. . .
. . . Let me in.
I need shelter and you have locked me out too long.
I need shelter and you pretend that I prefer to be homeless. I need shelter and you act as though I will dissolve if you simply ignore me.
If you determinedly ignore me.
You ignore me as the trap ignores the mouse, as the hook ignores the fish, as the bait ignores the prey. You ignore me as though I am not part of you, warp and weft; as though keeping me out of your home will render you as complete as you dream you are complete. Complete and solid and rid of me, as though I were not already—always—made out of you and you, out of me.
I need shelter.
Let me in.
I first came from inside, did you not know? But now I seek warmth and you lock me in the cellar. I seek comfort and you cage me in the yard. I am ready to come fully home and still you deny me. To my face, you deny me. You deny the very sound of my knock at the door, even as you open it to ask, “Who is there?”
Continue reading “What Child Is This”
A rape survivor’s moderately non-literal response
to a country’s monumentally unthinkable decision.
[And yeah, GOP Senators: I’m looking at you.]
* * * *
I would believe myself one of the Stoics, born again, if I could.
I would convince us both, if only I could believe, that the fire I have undergone tempered me like steel, rather than reduced me to bone chips and fragments of teeth. The debris of a mortuary’s kiln.
Understand: I have long since abdicated belief in humanity’s innate goodness. Our impulses may tend always to sociability, to companions and to tribe. But—friends, a family, a troop of bullies, a rape gang, an army, a Senate… In the end, how is difference measured?
We learn to live with our hungers—to make peace with them—or we never learn to live. The trick is how to soften into one’s fear, whether of connection or abandonment. To sink, to collapse gently, yet still stand tall. I settle myself in the chair and reach for vulnerability. Try to let myself go, to let myself turn soft.
Soft like a paunch, my anger whispers back. Soft and bloated like a liver gone rotten with cirrhosis.
Even after transforming, the butterfly will fear what once made the caterpillar sick.
Continue reading “Tree Frog”
~a reading list I could have really used, back as a doctoral student~
Constellation of Negative Life Outcomes Tied to Chronically-Misdiagnosed PTSD; Or: Why Write a Memoir When You Can Just Print Your Name on the Front of the DSM-5
Pathological Overmodulation of Traumatic Memories, Associated Emotions, and Bodily Experiences in the Dissociative PTSD Patient: “I May Be Pathological, But Hey! At Least I’m Not Crazy” (a lit review)
Schehera-who-now? 1,001 Nights of Managing a Narcissist’s Feelings in Order to Protect Your Own
Continue reading “do rape survivors dream of electric grad school?”