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Tell Me A Story

A Poet's Journey

New beginnings should always involve an element of the unattainable as inspiration.

Poetry: Welcome
Poetry: Blog2
  • Writer's pictureAngela Stubbs

Cave Atlas: Field Notes For Finding You

If I tell you how I know you, then you’d know all about chalk and stone walls and what this story looks like from the ground up. You might laugh like I’m full of it or think that I dreamt some crazy story about the way we connect in lines and waves and you’d be partially right. This is a real dream, not the kind you have when you stare too long at the milk in the bottom of your cereal bowl or that shimmering spot in the road up ahead. No, this one doesn’t have missing sequences. It’s not a trance state.

I am lost. Nightly. I find you on cave walls scribbled in lines before lanterns and light. Pieces turn. Postures stretching and lines are engraved on my palm. We are a mutual match, annotated on walls in the dark, clinging to the other faded in the most coded parts. Interplay between personality tendencies. Therapy includes watching shadows and budding animal figures. I do not have a syndrome or allergy to what I see when subconscious thoughts break out of my arms, extending into fingers and points where I become a scavenger. Conduct twists underneath my upper body, looking, imitating what I think I see or know as a nurturer.

If I close my eyes, I can trace the shape of you onto walls made of rock each May. You are the membrane between this world and what makes things real. Strands of connective tissue present themselves but slowly fade. Temporary lines are their own ritual I think, but you question the saturated color found on my cheekbones and those who pass by, mesmerized by torn pieces of Ptolemy’s geography. I wonder about this often and try blinking to see if I can adjust the picture.

I patiently wait for you to examine acts that remind you of roots and our same hair color. If you are charting this course then I am an archive, so I shout this in my head. I say. There. Like that. There there. Monitor my symptoms like mothers do and repeat gestures. Only with heart. This is an excavation without your DNA. I want to suture text and sound from your throat and thread them to mine. You have the tongue of a healer.

Yesterday and all of last year. I find you, an endangered species, a misplaced mother. Missing. Misprint. Misfit. I keep all versions of you here. What breaks out of the shadow and you when I pass by today? Monitoring arms or movement reminds me of that way you walk when things are off balance in one arm versus Thursday. Translation of familiar marks moves onto titles and scraped knees. These are forgotten dreams protruding into my consciousness. I’d like to rid myself of backgrounds.

I think about how you gesture worth or missed opportunity. There you are, pinned to the wall so I can keep you. A finding aid, that’s what you offer so I can sift through detritus and abominable habits. Versions of histories and citations find me and so let’s not do that twice or eight lifetimes from now. There is a desire for routines. What I know with or without clouds are the years of your birth repeat. I pull secret pages from my field notes.


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