What’s it like / it’s like (when the words come home)

An audio version of this post is available here.

It’s like … (and I wrote about this before, because I know this landscape so much better than I know the landscape my eyes look at every day, the landscape that is as strange and as empty of comfort to me as a zoo is to a tiger) it is like

You are in the woods, standing still in thick fur boots, in snow up to your shins, and next to you is the horse, which is always there next or under you, quietly breathing. It is night, clear and luminous and your hands are so cold they ache and the snow has finally sunk through the oiled pelts your riding boots were made of because you’ve been damn fool enough to get off the horse and let it rest a while. Its shoulder is so warm under your hand it’s almost like a noise it’s like

In the bright dark there is a dark dark spot. Among the world that reaches up, thinner and thinner until the end of each branch finds a star, there is something squat and geometric. You knew it was around here, but you haven’t been here and there is no map. Yet there it is, a little cabin, it is like

You asked for help and the trees twisted themselves into this shape to shelter you, it is like

There is no lock on the door, you open it and you and the horse go in together, because that is how it works here. The place is small because that’s easier to heat. There is a stove, cold, you find it in the dark and pull the old ashes out with your hands, onto your knees, the floor, feel for the new wood, curl shavings off with your knife, then the tinder and oily wool, the spark, a flame, then the dark and your breath softly on it, so softly in that little wait where you think you’ve failed. But you haven’t. There is fire now.

It is like that. The words go away sometimes for years. Wait. WAIT STILL. When they come back the trees and snow come with them, a whole world comes with the words.

It is like that, when the words come home.

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