Doldrum notes

i left two pieces of toast unattended
while sorting a self-regenerating pile of laundry,
the toast caught on fire
and burned for some time
filling the kitchen with a surprising amount of smoke
i opened the front door
and the back door
and our house became a tunnel of wind
the baby and i watched, astonished
as it barreled past us
like a train

driving north on a rainy tuesday,
i noticed
they’ve finished the suicide fence on the Aurora bridge
its not an insurmountable obstacle
but people won’t be able to stand there,
on the edge
contemplating the leap,
like they did in the old days.
Now, they’ll have to clamber over
and dangle,
it seems like it would be harder to change your mind
from this position.

childproof caps are not always childproof, but
“the human body can tolerate a great deal of ibuprofen without adverse affect”
or so I am told by the nice man at Poison Control
and I sit there after he hangs up
watching the baby
who may or may not have eaten any pills,
and think of all the things we survive
just to become children
we should give ourselves more credit
for resiliency

the prayer flags are snapping and twisting in the wind
while the sleeping dogs lie
it occurs to me that I’ve used the word doldrums several times lately
without being entirely clear on the meaning.
so i look it up.
and the definition delights me.
turns out,

the doldrums are a place…
a band of the earth near the equator
where the north winds and the south winds converge
its a low-pressure zone, where things are calm
and ships got trapped in the old days
because there wasn’t enough wind to fill their sails

it seems to me that the doldrums aren’t actually depressing at all
but rather, are a good place for contemplating

to escape,
one just needs to get out the oars.



Filed under doldrums, poetry, watching it all go by, winter

3 responses to “Doldrum notes

  1. Lovely . Hmmmm just the thing to end the day on, a good bit of fine writing. Burnt toast, babe, noticing. Good stuff all.

    In the immortal words of my mother, when my siblings and I were young and pleaded “Why can’t I?!!! So and so gets to do it!!” And my mother would calmly pause, look at us, and whip out this key line which carried great heft given our proximity to this span’s location: “Well, if so and so jumped off the Aurora Bridge, would you?”

    I always thought that was somewhat perverse. Esp. as I got older and realized jest how many folk ended their troubles by taking that leap. But as a child… I guess it had its intended affect.

    keep on writing. looking forward to your move beyond the atomic realm.

    • sarahalisabethfox

      That’s a little wild, that she used to say that. It is so close to where you all lived. I’ve been a little morbidly fascinated by the Aurora Bridge suicide tradition as an adult. Once I drove over it in the dark and there were officers clustered around the edge, looking over, lights flashing in the rainy dark (its always raining when I drive over it, at least in my memory). I always think of that night, and the poor folks who work beneath it having to see people fall, the proximity of that place to my ordinary everyday driving life, the fact that Aurora was thought of as the goddess of the dawn, which tends to be thought of as a time of fresh hope. Its a strange piece of the Seattle landscape.

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