[Quentin escaped from the tininess of his room down south for the tininess of a college dorm room up north but he can’t escape the anxiety crawling down the back of his neck with spidery legs Caddy forced to raise her mentally ill baby brother so can we blame her for searching for adulthood with men she doesn’t know? Jason would rather burn the edges of butterflies’ wings than scrape up the ashes of the home falling down around him Caroline their mother locked away in bed with illnesses no one but her can see and tell me is Father coming home yet? And Benjy, little Benjy, who knows only the limits of his mind and the twigs contained within their garden’s fence that he will never be allowed to go beyond]
Quentin is the one I relate to the most, mind always running never stopping go, go, going, a maze a mess a labyrinth endlessly uncomfortable revelations and constant chaos organized into uncomfortable thoughts I wish I never had to feel, and how can I not understand Caddy, recognize her precariousness, that feeling of tilting on the edge crooked edge broken rock and craggy abyss between girl and the mysterious world of powders lipstick hidden secrets and swallowed down words behind shellacked closed careful tight smiles, the feeling of falling while trying to go up, late nights under a tree with breathless one hour romances, and burning sobs in lit hallway bathrooms. I’ve had enough paper injustices to burn for Jason and to burn by Jason, and I’ve never mothered anything except for paper clips my books my tears and little spurts of bell-like laughter from the spring of my baby cousins mouths but I still understand the neurons in Caroline’s brain firing 200 times a second each in a cacophony of painful wailing and self pity, of flesh-eating anxiety like bacteria but without the comfort of physical presence. I’ve never caught my highest dreams either because I don’t know what those glinting scales will look like once they litter my hands my fingers and the handle of the knife I used to scrap scrape them off and when the Father is gone I am too, gone from my home and my bed and away somewhere just beyond the borders of a finite page with infinite possibilities yet quite able to grasp at an answer.
But I still haven’t cried for Benjy. My tears litter the dark undersides of overgrown bushes and closed spines undusted untouched, colorless hours of infinite spans of time and the baby round knuckles of unsure hands firmly stuffed into tightly stitched together pockets to not tremble
but some kinds of hurt you just can’t cry for
how can I cry for someone who doesn’t even know
what’s going on?
He will always wail by the fire and look at mirrors as if they were doors and moan and slobber along the fence for the girl who isn’t coming back and might not be a girl at all anymore, but I will never cry for him, because he is the only one of us lucky enough to not know what is going on. He will never understand the difference between a question mark and a comma and a period and when there’s a semi colon between two sentences he doesn’t connect the thoughts but runs off of those sun smoothed stepping stones jutting out of the river and drowns into single pools of purely singular experiences and I will always hurt for the pain he will have of never quite putting the pieces together even if he can feel them, but I will not cry for someone when I have the pieces and I see how they fit edges jagged though they may be and I need the tears to soften my vision and blur the letters as my veins shiver shaken contract bursts and flow at the words that make sense