Tired, as I often am these days: year after year of trying, failing, trying again: respites brief and seldom. I am not easy in my skin. I shift, squirm, glance out the window.
In the morning, every morning, before the world is awake, I go outside and gaze at the sky, at the tumble of clouds or the strangely shifting veils of blue, the eastern sun struggling up through dirty rags and bandages, the power wires. Crows, gulls, hawks. Wandering frets of rain. The cement is cold on my bare feet. I examine every horizon, like a prisoner examining his walls. I try to imagine that I'm at peace.
At breakfast, I read my Spanish book, enter my fifteen new words into my flashcard program. Review my chemistry. Half a dozen new books by friends that I need to get to, reviews I should write. Responses I should make. Who knew that my friends would prove so prolific? I'm proud of them; they amaze me. But I hold them at arm's length. “This needs to be settled first,” I say, and I know that I've found the right words: the only trouble is that I don't know what they signify. What do I mean, “this”? What needs to be settled?
In the evening I do massage, touching mortal men doomed to die; I touch my own decay, feel the fading traces of my own desire. The conversations become more and more telegraphic. This upper trap, between my thumb and forefinger. You know what this means! Remember? This cradling of the head, these fingers gently pulling your hair, this rain of tapotement on your calves: you remember? We've had this conversation before. Just my hand closing on your wrist, and the whole story replays, of pulling your arm over your head, of reaching under your shoulder. Eventually I'll be able to give a whole massage by resting my hand for ten seconds on your sacrum.
I become more and more superstitious. I hoard talismans. Look for signs. Count crows crossing the milk white sky.
June is almost done. The Sun is growing old too, the light will be getting gentler. The year, thank God, is already on the ebb.