Getting Some Where


Adolescent bluejays every where. They compete to be heard with a neighborhood of generators and the racket is difficult to assimilate. After the outage, there is a feeling of being better off without the reliance of convenience. I've said as much, but the scoffing! Take it all away and see who remains.

Too much red wine. Too much. Red. We spiral in a place that doesn't exist. Our fingers don't lace; our heat doesn't intersect. Maybe.

I remember taking the sleeper train from Cairo to Aswan to meet the riverboat that would eventually pull us back north on the Nile through the desert. Moving from train car to car meant stepping over the open tracks racing with fury and roar, and the only reason to do that was to use the bathroom. The train bathroom was an open hole elevated only two feet above the speeding tracks. The floors were sticky with urine and wind would cut upwards through the hole. All night the train threw us back and forth in our bunks, our tossing and turning punctuated with screeches and clunks and station stops. The children woke several times in asthmatic sputters; it was so hard breathe.

And I remember the men speaking Arabic when we arrived in Aswan, all of them looking at my daughter. They spoke to her directly and it was unnerving to not understand what they were saying. We kept both children tightly between us. A tour guide collected us and showed off his very best English as we tried to process the foreignness of every single thing.

On the riverboat, Cleopatra sang me to sleep as I pledged my soul to her reign. Papyrus fanned back and forth along the banks, but Egypt relented nothing. Hibiscus tea washed down a bleeding sunset, the likes of which could never be approached with words. There were no signs or billboards, no buildings or other river traffic. Shepherds in robes waved from time to time and children gathered to cajole our attention. Otherwise, it was the sound of the river going some where.

Eventually we docked to catch a bus to the Red Sea. After driving 6 hours through the Arabian desert, I waded into the sea. And it did not part for me.

Today, apple pie for breakfast. A swelter returns a few days after the storm; the azalea droops and curls its leaves in the heat. Summer proves to me that life is going some where. Planting and growing gets us some where. Watering and swimming takes us some where. Wearing less clothes gets us some where.

The here I can not forget.