The Currency of Solitude

The Currency of Solitude

What’s the currency of solitude? A way of trading explanations for silence, verbosity for stillness, observation for freedom?
Are there coins that will show me its face, or maybe an image of the forest where it lives,
their metallic edges worn smooth from being turned colors by weather?
Can I buy it with paper, with the recycled foreheads and wrists of gentle trees
that used to understand me
and offered me only the gentle spoon of self at four o’clock,
when plans are being made and I should be lonely?
Or with ribbons of something like litter, pale and a little gritty from being with the earth?
Or is it lost to me forever?
Can I send someone after it?
A bird perhaps, like a carrier pigeon in whose fat breast a password can be tucked,
in between one wing and another?
A quiet child, humming an innocuous song to himself, his small hands shoved in pockets deep
for bearing me back endless prairies of grassy absence?
Or maybe a wind, one that has a compass inside it with directions to all the places I used to go in order to be alone?
I can see it now.
That face will have a needle, one that calls me into the boggy spot where joe pye weed
makes friends with lost fishing lures in summer
and the air smells like acorns.
When I get there, I won’t hear anything but the things I let find my ears:
a sound like moths at twilight,
making friends in a game of tag under light,
or one that makes me think of curtains opening into sky,
with only the slightest shrug of intruding whisper there
to make me lonesome for voice and touch.
And when that haunting happens,
when time is up and I have to return to the rooms of the world,
I’ll need a ticket back to that soft country where I could be alone:
a voucher for reclaiming my own translation of the way an afternoon can simmer into evening.
Without it, I won’t be lost,
but the geography I’ll know will be one where I can no longer smell the stems of leaves
or know how long they might have been waiting
for me to come back to sit beneath them.
In that place, I’ll trade shared sounds for business done,
and almost all the words you’re reading here will tip their tiny hats and say goodbye,
lighting out for that uncrowded territory where
they can sit by themselves and notice,
just one more time before night falls,
the shape of a moth in the fading light.

copyright 2008 l.k. sorrells

The Currency of Solitude


Jasper, United States

  • Artwork Comments 3

Artwork Comments

  • Lori Peters
  • Laurkat
  • RMonroe
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