Saturday, March 5, 2022


Mid-afternoon when the sky darkens—light turns red with smoke, like last summer but without the distance of it all. This time it’s a FedEx truck on fire a block away. The air is beautiful as it burns, fullness is haunted as it’s made visible. I make coffee and think about the friends I miss. Writing: a process of getting closer. In Anne Michaels’s novel Fugitive Pieces, a geologist anthropomorphizes stone. In his “lyric geology” all things yearn and are moved by yearning, the memory of which constitutes the world.

“It is no metaphor to witness the astonishing fidelity of minerals magnetized, even after hundreds of millions of years, pointing to the magnetic pole, minerals that have never forgotten magma whose cooling off has left them forever desirous. We long for place; but place itself longs. Human memory is encoded in air currents and river sediment. Eskers of ash wait to be scooped up, lives reconstituted.”

Trying to understand longing, I watched videos on electromagnetism, solar wind, and the tiny magnets existing around atoms. Trying to understand magnetism, I returned to a memory of an afternoon on a blue couch, a hammock below an orange tree, a handful of sand poured from your hands and the comfort of having nowhere to go. On an atomic level, magnetism is produced through currents created by the circular movement inside of all atoms. A spinning nucleus and its rotating electrons produce magnetic poles on the smallest scale. Any distance, at times, can seem unbearable.

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