Put your records on.
I never told you my grapevines.
The temperature climbs and climbs. I woke up with my shoulders a little sore and my biceps tight from lifting yesterday. But it wasn't until the evening, when I moved another box of books, that I realized how much more rest my forearms would require of me.
In my dream, it was the apocalypse--but it had come to a place that looked strangely like Lexington, Kentucky, even though my Lexingtonian friend (whose daughter is nearly five weeks old and is getting big!) was nowhere. Which was a good thing because in my dream, we were living 27 days after "the fire," which had turned a residential area terrifying. Not zombie terrifying. Just terrifying. A woman gave me a task: take these books and excise this name on page 103. Then cut out page 153 and replace it with these pages. Somehow this excision had to do with her son and an illicit romance. Occasionally bands of thugs would sweep in and make people disappear. I worked at my cancels. I meditated on the suddenness of terror, and the quiet of its interstices.
In my morning, some quick thinking-together made the day more beneficial to the young minds who are in our charge--and also gave me enough time to sign up to have my phone changed to the new apartment on Friday and to have my power cut off here on Monday. Janice from the phone company talked to me for a full thirty minutes; we talked about jet lag and airplane meals while she coaxed her computer through the process of figuring out the cheapest rate for my internet and phone until September. We debated the iPhone; we talked about the time her "honey," as she called him, was delayed in an airport and called her just to keep busy. "Here's the guy who never wants to talk on the phone," she said with a laugh all over her voice, "asking me not to hang up. I called him back later to make sure that he wasn't asleep and about to miss his flight." When it was all over, we'd knocked a full $50 off my monthly phone bills. (If you haven't done so for awhile, call your phone company and talk to them about lower rates. You know they'll let you languish at high rates for as long as you don't notice.)
In my afternoon, my flaming-sworded friend and I took a moment out of our busy afternoon of outline-marking and meeting with students. What should be our dining room table in the new apartment? The drafting table? The old kitchen table? The smaller drafting table that's currently doing the job, as a placeholder? Measurements, room-fits, table-purposes, chair-types: we went over it. I confessed my fantasy of rolling the drafting table down the road. And, again we ask, is it not a bit funny but also inevitable to say that it's our dining room table, though we will not live in the apartment together? (I think that I will be writing more on this subject--and returning, at long last, to the "We are Family" posts with which we closed May down--as the week continues.) I showed off my bruises and flexed my swelling biceps. I forgot how much I missed them when they sank down a little. It doesn't take much to bring them back up.
In my late evening, at home again after delivering assessed essay outlines to my students and another load of books (poetry from the office, this time) to the apartment, I helped my flaming-sworded friend walk her dogs and then came in the house for a gorgeous rendition of toasted cheese on bread.
The shy-smile-worthy moment of the day came when a colleague from another part of the college pulled me aside in the bookstore to tell me he'd read my poetry and loved it. Where did he get it? He didn't want to confess, but I kept my gentle questions going until he confessed that two of my students had given him poems I'd written about or for them. "I think you should write short stories in that voice," he said. Short stories? I think of myself as someone who can't tell a story in writing, which seems strange now that I type it out: I do nothing if not tell stories all day. I live my life through stories.
In my late night, a message from three women students with a link to Corinne Bailey Rae. It's such a small thing, and such a lovely send-off to the day. No apocalypse here, not yet.