Consider A Move by Michael Ryan

Consider A Move

The steady time of being unknown,
in solitude, without friends,
is not a steadiness that sustains.
I hear your voice waver on the phone:

Haven’t talked to anyone for days.
I drive around. I sit in parking lots.

The voice zeroes through my ear, and waits.
What should I say? There are ways

to meet people you will want to love?
I know of none. You come out stronger
having gone through this? I no longer
believe that, if I once did. Consider a move,

a change, a job, a new place to live,
someplace you’d like to be. That’s not it,
you say. Now time turns back. We almost touch.
Then what is? I ask. What is?

I first stumbled upon this poem when I returned to Singapore from London, and since then have become quite fond of it. This has been a sad week, because I moved out of my house to a relative’s place, and have been feeling desperately homesick. It’s ironic – I lived alone for so long in London and never missed home, yet a short distance move like this has made me feel so bereft. It was my idea – I wanted the space and the quiet, but now I’m actually missing the angst and the chaos. In any case I shall be remaining here at least for a short while, until there is an appropriate moment to express that I want to return.

The steady time of being unknown. This space does not receive me. I roll on the bed, playing videos and music, trying to fill the emptiness. My body is too heavy. I’m too sad to get stuff done.  I text my friends, hoping for some comfort. I receive a prayer, a few snaps, scattered smiley faces. Not alone, my friend says. Not alone. I close my eyes and try to believe its true.

I drive around. I sit in parking lots, go to school in an attempt to feel like everything is fine. I just don’t feel good, I say. My friend gives me a long hug, buys me dinner, lets me lean on her shoulder. I don’t know why but even the sky looks different, just because I’m going home to a different house tonight.

My mother comes to pass me things. You just need to get used to it, she says. That’s not it, my heart replies, and sinks as she drives away. But if that’s not it, then what is? What is it in the end? Perhaps my heart just wants to go back to a place where it had a chance at being found.


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