Lately I am restless. I am sighing and staring into everything. I want to be by myself and simultaneously want to be at a party. Everywhere I look there is meaning. Everywhere I look there is beauty to note. All these actions and behaviors and circumstances that I am witnessing, that I am part of, are symbolic and powerful; I see the potential poetry in them and something is making me stop and be in it. I cannot not see it.

I am in a parking lot after a storm and there on the ground is a dead bird. A big one, not crushed, but whole, as it looks like it has fallen dead from the sky. And there before me is a woman pushing her grandmother along the clean pavement in a wheelchair. And there is a man reaching for the hand of his child. There along the side of the road is a storm drain drowning, the swirl of water hypnotizing. There in the long green grass are branches too heavy for me to drag to the curb, and a young stranger helps me without a word. I see all this and I cannot pass it by. I know it is for me to notice.

In another there, in another conversation, is a looking-away, a gesture; a leaning back of the head, a deep breath, and a smile replete with effects both poignant and cynical. A bursting of truth under the lid of decorum; a rebellion against what restrains. There in another is a leaning back. An acceptance of something they do not wish for but will abide. Arms crossed, bland smile, cordial agreement. A politeness, self-control, at war with desire.

In another is the too revealed connection, the deprecating joke told with a finger tapping on the shoulder. In another the far away look of drugged fear and anger. In another the self-awareness of an average person who finds average unappealing. In another a wide-eyed and slightly ashamed sadness, a voice that trembles in talking, the muscles of the face cannot hold a composed expression; a grimace threatens.

Meaning is replete like water vapor in the air. It is palpable and labors my breathing. When I drive I can feel it pushing against the forward motion of the car. I can feel the particles sloshed in the air around me as I walk and the inner-workings of humanity appear like thinly-coded thought bubbles.

The people are holy. All of them. And all the other things in the world, the roads, the birds, the chairs, the rain, the heat, the shoes, the beds, and blankets, and lights–they all exist for context and setting and connection. And I pet a cat and you pet a cat and we are somehow the same.

When you are gone, and I am in the quiet, I am overcome by sounds. Auricular humming, an organ of chords. Even the heat has a noise, with a parallel release of air alongside the pitch of its droning. The meaning is a thing I can hear. It is a thing I can feel like atoms, like leaves tossed and resettled, crushed and re-purposed. It is a thing that I love about you.

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Sara Quah

Writer, singer, songwriter. Find me @SaraBQuah. Listen to my music at saraquah.com.

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