The Blue Pitcher

that which may be filled and emptied

Month: March, 2013


This time last year I was waiting for Ella to be born, imagining the scent and heft of her, already feeling the whole of her, watching her body rise and fall, even inside of me. For months after she was born, I was terrified of losing her. Those were yellow days, but night came: I would call her angel, and a thrush of a thousand wings would take her from me. She’s not like her sister; she wakes so easily that I cannot go to her and place my hand on her chest, and so I find myself sneaking into her room–the streetlight shadows uncertainly static–and I stand (a mad bird) above her crib, straining my ears to hear her breathe, waiting and waiting, until I can finally go, run cold water into a glass before trying, again, to put myself to sleep.


Tell us what you know about the heart, I write on the board. The boy from Senegal, the one who put up drywall in Bed-Stuy in last summer’s heat takes out his mechanical pencil. I have never been a fan of the sleek, plastic objects, opting more often for yellow wood. I remember buying my seventh grade science teacher a pen that was marketed as having been “used by the astronauts.” He worried about me. He once stopped to get gas when he was driving me home. People will try to take advantage of you, he said, and he said it in the way that said he was making a conscious decision not┬áto take advantage of me. He would just take me home, he seemed to be telling himself; he would make sure I got in safe, wave. Those days, I took too many rides. I don’t know where my parents were, or if they shrugged their shoulders when other people complained about shuttling children around. These days, I use a pen. Black, inky. I dip its tip in the well of my heart and hope for things to say.