Who is this for? The question was preoccupying. The list got longer.
Those who occasionally get a sense of wonder at the idea that there are parts of themselves and others emerging and about to emerge that neither they nor any others can begin to imagine, which will only be known when they are in full bloom; and which may even then, remain unknown, like those flowers that bloom only one night a year.
Who think it is worth something to protect the barely-emerged parts, the hopes not yet breathed, the tiny flames prone to being extinguished in wind.
There was a man walking along a sidewalk in the rain the other day. He had white hair, large white sneakers, a nice-looking windbreaker, khakis, a neat haircut––and a plastic freezer bag sitting on his head, perched like the cap of a fast-food uniform. I saw him and celebrated, “This guy!”
People who sometimes have moments of delight or sudden heartache passing strangers, who sometimes can’t keep from imagining stories about customers if they are working at a register, or about the person at the register when they are passing as a customer. Who look at the hands with the card or the change, who make constant note of the details of hands: their tiny scars, their tremors, their bitten fingernails, their rings, and the homemade bracelets peeking out of the cuffs of dress shirts.
Who have noticed how an overwhelming sense of vividness at the shimmering parts of being, everywhere, may sometimes live just beside a sense that some deadly danger, creeping through it, is precisely the thing that no one is naming aloud.
Who have loved or imagined loving the feel of a costume, and face paint. Of cardboard-sword play and fairy wands; double-dutch and baseball cards, and the magical arrival of an ice cream truck. Who have watched a mother cooking, and wondered about her silences at the stove. Who have watched a father, sitting, at the end of the day, and felt something coiled behind his tired eyes, as though preparing to spring.
For those who are reluctant to embrace the workplace trend of replacing one’s actual face with a bitmoji version of one’s face, for reasons that one can only vaguely (and not without discomfort) relate to the aversion reported by those chronicling certain native tribes, to photographs in general, those strange, not-quite-human, human-seeming likenesses which appear as a theft of one’s actual face––and with it, the connected soul.
Who believed at some point or another, that they might do something more than what their mind was generally asked to do, although they could not say exactly what.
For those creatures, large and microscopic, that scientists once thought extinct, then found again. For the last surviving member of a species, still singing, even when no living mate exists. For the ones just discovered in the deep. For the ones not yet discovered, still so far away.
For those employees of institutions that require large-group meetings, who noticed in the last year, that they often had to turn off their cameras when no longer able to maintain composure in Zoom meetings because Bossman was so funny when not trying to be, whenever he delivered a motivational speech on some Thing of Great Import.
Who find the world very loud sometimes, who want to vomit at the sound of a leaf blower, and who also want to laugh wildly or break into song in places that are eerily quiet, like medical waiting rooms.
Who were disappointed that the first love interest did not propose becoming an item by breaking into song, followed by a chorus of friends, inviting the respondent to reply in song, also a with chorus of friends.
Who experience the world alternately as a series of swords against raw flesh, and as a shimmering wonderland, endlessly remaking its patterns and purposes.