I Am Water, I Am Sunlight

I remember seeing an interview years ago on Oprah that shocked me. Dr. Laura Berman was being interviewed, and the gist of what she was saying was this—as parents we should be teaching our young girls to masturbate. I think the age she recommended was between the ages of 10-12.

Gasp.

Her reasoning—if we teach our daughters to pleasure themselves, they will learn that this is something they can do FOR THEMSELVES. So when the first boy comes along who does the things that make her toes curl, she will not associate this kind of pleasure with another person. She will know the pleasure is coming from HER OWN body. She will know that this boy IS NOT A WIZARD (forgive me, I’m paraphrasing). A girl may be less inclined to stay with a boy who doesn’t treat her well, or less inclined to be constantly seeking that NEXT boy to engage with sexually—because she will know that, like Dorothy, SHE has the power all along.

At the time, I had a two year old and a newborn—both girls. Talking about sex with them was a long ways off (not so much, anymore). I found myself sitting there in complete conflict about what I was hearing. My mother NEVER talked to me about sex. We never even talked about menstruating, never mind about masturbating. I can’t think of anything more mortifying than having had that conversation with my mother. Still, it made sense. I filed it away in my mind as something to consider down the road. Something to chat about with other mothers of girls. Probably not something that would end up in my mothering repertoire.

As the years passed I found myself in an increasingly unhappy marriage. A marriage wherein affection was sparse. He never told me I was beautiful. Or smart. Or funny. Or kind. Or a good mother.

And I needed him to say these things in order for them to be true.
(Read that again.)

I was a shriveling houseplant.
He was water.
He was sunlight.

I posed for a photo shoot done by some friends who were trying out a new concept of helping women to feel seen through photography. To feel empowered. They posted my photos on Facebook. I sat on the couch with my computer in my lap, watching as my Facebook blew up with lovely comments over the photos of me. Across the room my husband was looking at the same pictures and his first comment was, “Whose shirt is that you’re wearing?”

“Look at ME!” I screamed silently through the internet….from the other side of the room.

An old boyfriend reached out to me on social media, and we began to chat. He would write that I was incredibly sexy. And the smartest woman he knew. That he respected me. Admired me.

I was hooked.
He was water.
He was sunlight.

We never saw each other in person. And at a certain point I messaged him that we couldn’t communicate anymore. I wanted to work on my marriage. I knew that I was spending too much time thinking about him. Too much time thinking about the version of me that HE TOLD ME I WAS. I didn’t love him. I loved HIS version of ME.

Despite therapy, nothing changed in my marriage. And after a while I resumed the messaging. I’m not proud of that. I was so thirsty.

I needed water.
I needed sunlight.

Where else would I get them if not from him?
Surely THIS is where it is kept?

When my husband told me he knew about the messaging, I felt like a scorned child who’d gotten caught playing with something she wasn’t supposed to. I was ashamed.

Looking back I realize this was the moment I knew our marriage would not be saved. Not because of the “emotional affair” as he called it, but because he had known for a long time about these communications, and had said nothing. And then—when he told me he knew—it was in an email, sent while we laid side by side in bed.

Where was the passion? Where was the jealousy? The outrage?
It was further validation of the fact that I was unworthy.
Of water.
Of sunlight.

And the old boyfriend? I was only irresistible when I was unattainable. When he saw my marriage going down he did not want to be counted among the wreckage.

No more water.
No more sunlight.

About a year after my divorce, I went on a date. The man was poetic and dreamy and said the words I needed to hear about myself. “You are so beautiful.” “I wake up in the middle of the night longing for you.” “You are a wonderful mother.”

He was water.
He was sunlight.

When he took it away abruptly, I begged to have it back.
Just a splash. Just a beam. Please.

Just when I thought he would never feed me again—I’d feel a drop of rain, a flash of light. And then I’d wait, with my hands cupped. With my face tilted to the sky. Thank you. This will sustain me a while. Surely there will be more to come.

Upon refection I have come to realize that this pattern did not begin with my marriage. I chased after a man—a boy—from high school all the way up until he became engaged to be married ten years later.

He was water.
He was sunlight.

Another man in my twenties, the same…I coveted him until he was no longer available.

He was water.
He was sunlight.

Recently this particular man returned to my life—offering water, and sunlight. But I didn’t want it. If he was offering it so freely, I thought there must be something wrong.

I’m SUPPOSED to beg. I am SUPPOSED to be dying of thirst.
Doesn’t he know I am not worthy of this kind of abundance?
This is NOT how it works.

This pattern has been a hard one for me to recognize or acknowledge, because I have had no fear of being alone. I’ve spent way more time single than I have in relationships. I am independent. I am not lonely.

I do not seek to have just ANY man in my life in order to fill a need. What I do instead is to appoint someone as the assessor of my self worth. (I think you can guess that this person has NEVER been ME). They may have this job for many years, until the torch is passed to the next man I deem worthy of this title.

How does one gain this dubious honor? He must simply water me and warm me in the light of his affection…and then, take it away.

Tell me I’m worthy, and then make me doubt it. I’ll be hooked for years.

This revelation has been—as you can imagine—unsettling. I’ve been in a bit of a tailspin about it. How do I get to a place wherein receiving love freely and abundantly from a man will feel…normal?

To where I don’t feel there must be something wrong with him if he thinks I’m worthy…not just in the beginning, but——STILL?

To where, upon having someone withdraw their affection, I won’t be inclined to believe this simply means I must work harder to prove my worth?

To where I won’t place my beliefs about what I deserve in the hands of someone who may never have even volunteered for the task. (Whether it was a willful endeavor or not, it was never his to have.)

This morning I sat with my coffee, reading a book by Brene Brown, “The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone.”

And I don’t know why, but I thought of that interview years ago, with Oprah. TEACH THE GIRLS THAT THEY HOLD THE POWER WITHIN THEMSELVES.

And I had this Aha moment about my life.
About my loves.
About sunlight. And water.
And apparently—about masturbation.

It seems to me that teaching our daughters how to self-satisfy goes WAY beyond sex. I know that feeling powerful when it comes to sexual pleasure is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to a woman’s self esteem and personal power. But teaching our girls ownership of and appreciation for their own bodies seems like an excellent idea, doesn’t it? Just one more way of teaching them that they don’t need someone else in order to feel good about themselves.

And I must teach my girls to appoint no one but themselves as the ASSESSORS OF THEIR OWN WORTH.

I understand wholly and humbly that I can ONLY teach them by example.
By being worthy…of myself.

I want each of them to know she has EVERYTHING she needs WITHIN HERSELF. What a man chooses to offer—or to withhold—is no reflection of her worthiness.

SHE is water.
SHE is sunlight.

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Humanity on a Train

NYC bound we happened to sit behind a young man traveling alone. An older man took the seat next to him, and I smiled as the young man got up to help this stranger lift his bag into the overhead compartment. 

As we headed toward the city these two talked and talked. I wasn’t paying any attention to what they were saying until I heard the young man say, “Well, what if I told you that I am gay?” The older man said, “Then I would pray for you.” And the the young man said, “Well I would pray for you, too.”

And the discussion continued. And for the next hour I listened to this young man calmly and intelligently object to this older man’s bigoted, homophobic and misogynistic views. I mean, this guy was UNREAL. From claiming AIDS was created by God to punish homosexuals, to claiming women are going against their innate design by working outside the home—therefore ruining society and causing themselves and their children great psychological harm.

He said that children of divorce have no one to model love for them and therefore become SAVAGES.

(I have to admit, at that I literally laughed out loud. I couldn’t help it.)

There were moments when I wanted to slam my feet against the back of this awful man’s chair. But this young man—he remained calm. They both did, actually. Never was a voice raised between them. Never did I feel that I needed to leap to his aid, either.

“That’s simply untrue,” the young man said repeatedly, and he would argue eloquently against each point. Respectfully.

It was clear to me that this polite and intelligent young man was NOT going to change this older man’s opinion about a damn thing. I’m sure he knew that too. And he could have chosen not to engage. He could have shot the conversation down after the man obviously said something derogatory about gay people. Or he could have reacted in an angry, or sarcastic way.

I can’t say anyone would have blamed him for that. I wouldn’t have.

But…I am so glad that he didn’t.

Because behind him sat my daughter. A child of divorce. The daughter of a single, working mother. The daughter of a trans and bisexual father.

And she was listening.

Ultimately the young man said, “Well, I am not a gay man. I am straight and catholic, actually. However, within the last hour you’ve managed to insult nearly everyone I love. I think we’re done here. I’ll pray for you.”

And I looked over and winked at the incredibly loving little savage in the seat beside me, grateful we were witnesses to this exchange, however ugly one man’s opinions were. Because it showed my daughter that resistance does not always have to be loud, aggressive or hostile. It can simply be a soft spoken young man on a train, respectfully and intelligently defending humanity on a Thursday afternoon.

train shot

Telling Our Stories

The other day I wrote about facing life’s challenges – the ones that shake our foundation. Among the examples I gave from my own life were my father’s death, my mother’s cancer battle, and my ex coming out as transgender. I was careful to explain that I did not equate one’s changing gender identity with death nor with cancer, but that I do consider it a foundation rattler. After I sent what I wrote out into the world, I worried. I worried about having acknowledged that this transition is hard for me.

Why?

Because it is so much harder for her. Because it isn’t my story. Because I want to show my unwavering support of her. She is so brave – after having lived four decades as a male, to have the courage to express who she really is. I am not the courageous one, she is. The other day I read that the suicide rate among transgender teens and adults is 40%. Let that sink in. My mother had a better prognosis with stage 3 breast cancer. I burst into tears when I read that statistic. It makes me cry again sharing it with you.

There are layers of reasons why the suicide rate is so high amongst this population, and of course at the root of it is people would rather die than to have to live in a body that feels wrong. They feel trapped, either because they fear not being accepted, or they have already experienced not being accepted, for who they are. They are trapped in the wrong body, and they don’t see any other way out.

I have always been supportive of LGBTQ rights, but I have to tell you I had never met anyone who was transgender. That was, of course, until I realized I had been married for ten years and was raising two children with a person who is exactly that.

Introduction by fire, anyone?

Soon after I discovered that my ex is actually a woman, I went on Amazon (as one does in these situations) and looked for some help in the form of a book. What I found was, ‘Trans Bodies, Trans Selves”.  One click and I would hold the answers to all of my burning questions right in my hot little hands.

It arrived weighting about ten pounds and looking like a college text book. I leafed through it – medical and legal advice, very graphic diagrams – this book was not going to help me. It might be a great reference guide down the road, but for me, a newbie, it was overwhelming. I knew I wouldn’t get my head around this situation with anatomy and law. I needed to get to the heart of it. So I read stories – real, from the heart, stories written by real people who have lived through this. For me, reading “She’s Not There” by Jennifer Boylan was so helpful. It is the story of a boy who always knew he was different, but didn’t want to be (of course) so he hid his true self. He grew into a man who fell in love with a woman and had two children. He became the Head of the English department at a prestigious college in Maine. Then, he came to a point where he felt he had no choice but to risk everything to be who he was. To be Jenny.

I realized in thinking about all of this that it is so important that these stories get told.  It is so incredibly important that transgender people tell their own stories. It is stories from the heart that bring us together and help us to understand each other.

They make situations that seem so alien to us relatable.

It is for this very reason I think it is also important that their loved ones tell their stories too. We need to tell our own stories. I believe there are people out there who need to hear what I have to say.  Someone needs to hear me say that this is hard. Someone needs to hear me say that this is confusing. Someone needs to hear me say that it is scary. They need to hear me say that sometimes I resent it being hard and confusing and scary. They need to hear me say that it is okay if their foundation has been shaken.

And frankly, I need to say it.

This doesn’t mean that we are not 100% supportive of our trans loved ones. This doesn’t mean we are being dramatic or making it all about us. These are our lives too, and therefore it is also about us. It is about all of us. It is about how we will greet this foundation shaker together.

It starts with us telling our stories bravely, just like our loved ones have.

I am Not the Buddha

The following quote by poet Tyler Knott Gregson came up on my Facebook memories this week…

“To begin again, sometimes you have to take life down to the studs, knock down all the walls, and pull out the insulation that kept you from the world. You must get dirty and feel the ache in the muscles you used to pull the house down around you. You must stare wide eyed and grinning at the mess you have made, seeing through the rubble to the clean floor that will emerge when the work is through.

Now, now is the time to destroy the foundations of fear and apprehension, the walls of waiting and wishing; now is the time to begin again. Laugh at the piles of the past you stand in, knee deep and smiling.”

I so loved it at the time I posted it. Reading it again brought me back to that moment in time. It was two and a half years after I had split with my husband and moved out of our home. I had – we had – torn it all down. It was not working. We were not happy, though we had tried and tried. I had already gone through the grieving, much of it while we were still together. I was, at that point in time, ready “to laugh at the piles of the past in which I stood, knee deep and smiling.”

The date was February 2016.

About a month later, my ex-husband (and the father of my two girls) came out as transgender. Nine months after that, my beloved father died suddenly. Nine months after that, my mother was diagnosed with BRCA and stage 3 cancer.

Let me be clear – I am not comparing my ex being trans with death nor with cancer, but I list it here because…well because when the person with whom you were in a relationship for twelve years reveals this kind of secret – when you realize you didn’t know, percieve, understand…have an inkling of something so fundamental about your spouse as his gender – it has the power to shake one’s foundation. As is, for my girls and me, navigating the outward changes of our loved one. When you think about it – what is more fundamentally true to a child, than that Dad is a man? (Or to a woman, that an ex-Husband is a man, for that matter?) Love is love…and what is revealed within that can still be a wall rattler; a soul shaker.

Once again I found myself standing in the rubble that was once my life. However, THIS time – I hadn’t asked for it. I had not held the sledgehammer in my own two hands and swung wildly, hungry to tear it all down. I had simply woken up one day to find a big hole in the roof, and then I watched helplessly as the foundation cracked, and the walls buckled, and everything seemed to crumble all around me.

The question I find myself asking is – Is it possible to approach the rubble we’ve willfully created in the same way that we greet the rubble we did not? The rubble we never asked for? The rubble we never saw coming?

The Buddhist answer would be yes – simply greet what is. Embrace it.
I can assure you, I am not the Buddha.

As I have stood in the piles of the past, I have grieved. Heavily. I have cut myself on the jagged pieces of the past as I tried to fix what was there. I have tripped and fallen as I tried to hold up the pieces that were still hanging on by a few desperate nails. When you never wanted the destruction, it is hard to accept the fact that nothing can be put back exactly as it was, in its imperfect perfection.

Whether the rubble was intended or not, Gregson was right about looking THROUGH it all, “to the clean floor that will emerge.”

Because it will. It is there, beneath it all. It is always there. Whether we brought on the demolition ourselves, or we helplessly watched as everything fell apart. Either way, we must rebuild.

We have no choice, as we stand there in the rubble, but to get to work cleaning up the mess and to begin again…and again, and again.

Such is life – learning to push up our sleeves and do the work…

The work we asked for, and the work we didn’t.

I still may not be able to greet both with a smile – to greet them equally with gratitude as bits of the house that once sheltered me cling to my hair and dust my eyelashes – but I do understand that it’s the building and rebuilding of my house that will teach me the most about myself.

Above all I must remind myself that I am not the house.
Its destruction never has to equal mine.

#329 Death at a Wedding

“What if, when there is a wedding, there is also a funeral?” my twelve year old daughter says to me from the backseat on the way to school this morning.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“What if when a person gets married, there is also a funeral…to bury the person they were. Because when they get married, they become a new person. A different person. Like…before she was Miss Leafstone…or whatever. That person will die and she will become a new person – Mrs. Whatever. 

So…when you get married, there’s a wedding…and a funeral.” 

Did I mention this was on the way to school? I had not had nearly enough coffee.

Sure, perhaps she was simply talking semantics – Miss changes to Mrs, with likely a new last name, too. Therefore, she becomes a different person.

Perhaps she was not being literal, you say. Perhaps this child of divorce has not come to equate marriage with death.

Perhaps.

Except…this child of mine…I have never met someone paradoxically so dreamy and so awake.  WHO KNOWS what she meant.

So what does one say to a twelve year old (at 8am, during a five minute car ride) about marriage as it relates to death?

“Hopefully when you get married you will still feel like YOU,” I said.

It was admittedly trite, but no matter. She had already lost interest in the topic. Her question was rhetorical. She does this to me often. She knocks the wind out of me with her words, and then moves swiftly on…leaving my head spinning with what was to her a fleeting – even whimsical – thought.

I pondered it all the way to work.

Now, I am self-aware enough to understand that my own experience with being married casts this funeral-wedding scenario in a particularly ominous light.

Right there at the wedding…she ceases to be.

The She she was, is gone.

I can understand that those of you who are happily married, or who are looking forward to becoming happily married, might even look upon this metaphor as beautiful and poetic…perhaps even envisioning a sort of two headed phoenix flying up from the ashes of your former selves. If so, I am so very happy for you, truly.

But…

So many of us – women and men alike – lose ourselves within marriages. To a certain extent that’s what is supposed to happen, right? (Looking back I’d even say I was eager to become lost in my marriage.)

“I” becomes “we”.

We no longer make decisions for ourselves alone. The consequences of our actions, for better or for worse (as they say), are felt in tandem. Our lives become intricately interwoven.

Whether a marriage is healthy or not, we do change. We should, at the very least, grow. Hopefully, we find someone who makes us strive to be the best version of ourselves.

The shadow side is, sometimes we change in ways we never wanted. Or worse, we move beyond change and completely lose ourselves. We as individuals cease to be. Which can become a problem if and when we realize that the marriage is not going to last.

If we are no longer We, and I am no longer I

Who is this person? 

Back to the funeral at a wedding thought…

If we (metaphorically) die when we get married, what happens when we divorce?

Are we resurrected? 

Morbidity aside, it makes me laugh a bit to think about digging myself up – the me in the white dress. I would be quite surprised by the trajectory of my marriage….of my life. If I woke her up and informed her of all that has transpired since the wedding –  the last five years especially – she might ask where the shovel is…

Put me back in!

That girl was NOT READY.

No, thankfully…in this metaphorical scenario…I don’t believe we are resurrected. At least, not as our former selves. No, my dears…we are so much more. We have grown so much. We can handle what we thought we never could – or what we never imagined we’d have to.  We’ve struggled to put one heavy foot in front of the other, and now we look back and see that we have walked for miles and miles.

Perhaps all of life’s obstacles and tragedies are about dying little deaths; about letting go of who we were and meeting new versions of ourselves.

If we’re lucky, each iteration of us is a wiser, more compassionate one…

One who knows how strong she really is.

#328 Thin Skin (& a Nod to Katie)

Here we are, rounding the corner on two years since we lost my father.  It’s funny, my family – we keep trying to remember bits of last Christmas.

It’s foggy.

One of the few things I remember is that Karen wore an elf suit to Christmas dinner (bless her heart), because she said everyone needed some Christmas spirit.

(It is impossible not to love that woman.)

The first set of holidays after you lose someone, from what I gather, is always the most difficult. (I mean…duh). Last year, as far as Christmas went, we just wanted to get through it.

Quick and dirty.

For while we were all still grieving my dad, and the first holiday without him (not to mention the anniversary of his passing), my mother was in the full throes of chemotherapy.

Good times.

Alexis called it, “A Very Cancer Christmas”.

Whatever, you guys. Sometimes if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry. I guess we’ve done our fair share of both.

So here we are, approaching Christmas #2 sans “Papa”. I won’t hold you in suspense…it isn’t any easier. Not really.

I should tell you, things for me have been good…so good. The girls (now 9 and 12) are great. My mother is healthy. Work feels fulfilling. I feel healthy, having lost the 15 pounds of grief-weight I gained last year. After having rented for the five years since my divorce, I recently bought my first house. That feels amazing, and the girls and I are so in love with the new house.  It could not be more perfectly us.

We have so much for which to be grateful…and we are. I am. So grateful.

Still…

For the past few weeks, I have felt on the edge. I am so quick to well up with sadness…over a song, or a memory. I miss him. I have also been feeling the grief of others – those who have lost loved ones this year, so heavily.

I carry it all with me.

I thought to myself earlier today, it’s as if I have a thinner skin now. It’s as if at any moment, my thin skin threatens to spill my very essence all over the floor…revealing the most raw and unapologetic parts of me.

My skin is barely containing me.

The good news is…the thin skin keeps all of the good stuff right at the surface too. The joy and the gratitude, those are aching to burst forth as well.

I am feeling everything with intensity. Every emotion courses through me, filling me up until it has nowhere to go but to leak from my eyes.

This evening I found myself sitting by a fire in my beautiful new house, reading a book, and enjoying a glass of wine. My two most favorite little ladies sat beside me – one drawing, one reading. I suddenly felt overwhelmed. This is too good, I thought to myself.

This is a perfect moment. How did I get so lucky?

Lately, I have been having dreams about a young mother who lost her battle with ovarian cancer just a few weeks ago. I did not know her well…hardly at all, really. When I first met her, she had just begun her battle with stage 4 cancer. She was already terminal. Yet she seemed more full of life than most.

She glowed.

It’s the kind of perversely glaring contrast that sticks with you.

Honestly, I can’t make much sense of the dreams…but I feel as though I am seeing her, repeatedly, for a reason. If I had to guess, I’d say she has come to remind me. To remind me that it is okay to feel it all.

To feel BIG and to love BIG…

Even, or especially, when I am feeling so much that my skin can barely contain me.

Because I am here.

I have the privilege of being here,

In my thin skin,

Feeling it all.

beth at home

Day 327/365 “The Air a Library”

Not a day goes by that I don’t think about my father.

Sometimes these thoughts wrap me in a blanket of melancholy. Other times they bring on a smile or even an audible laugh.

The stupidest things remind me of him – like my daughter asking me if I ever saw “Bedtime for Bonzo” (she was reading about Ronald Reagan). I never did see it, I told her, but Papa used to say that all the time as he corralled me up to bed…“Bedtime for Bonzo!” 

I don’t recall whether that expression was met with a giggle or a groan…but I remember him saying it…I can hear him saying it…with a grin.

Last weekend we got together for a family dinner at my mother’s house. All together there were eight adults, nine children and two dogs. It was a beautiful evening and everyone was outside. The children and dogs were running around in the late afternoon sun. As we sat there in one of my father’s favorite places – the terrace, under the wisteria vines – I just had a feeling that we were all thinking about dad.

Sometimes when this happens, I’ll bring a voice to it – I’ll say, “I really miss him.” 

Other times I feel it’s better to just sit with that sensation – that he is in the air all around us. We don’t have to say it out loud. It just is. 

I have the hardest time explaining how it feels sometimes – the sensation of missing someone so much, yet simultaneously feeling as though he is everywhere, permeating everything…especially in that house, on that terrace. 

I know those of you who have lost a loved one know what I mean…

They never really cease to be…HERE.

dad and me miskiania

I just finished a book yesterday…one of those books you are sad to finish. Below is an excerpt that I have read over and over and over…because it explains so perfectly this sensation of which I speak….

“Torrents of text messages, tides of cell conversations, of television programs, of email, vast networks of fiber and wire interlaced above and beneath the city, passing through buildings, arcing between transmitters and metro tunnels, between antennas atop buildings, from lampposts with cellular transmitters in them, commercials for Carrefore and Evian, and prebaked toaster pastries flashing into space and back to earth again. I’m going to be late and Maybe we should get reservations? and Pick up avocados and What did he say? and ten thousand I miss yous, fifty thousand I love yous, hate mail, and appointment reminders and market updates, jewelry ads, coffee ads, furniture ads flying invisibly over the warrens of Paris, over the battlefields and tombs, over the Ardennes, over the Rhine, over Belgium and Denmark, over the scarred and ever shifting landscapes we call nations. And is it so hard to believe that souls might also travel these paths? That [they] might harry the sky in flocks like egrets, like terns, like starlings? That great shuttles of souls might fly about, faded but audible if you listen closely enough? They flow above the chimneys, ride the sidewalks, slip through your jacket and shirt and breastbone and lungs, and pass out through the other side, the air a library and the record of every life lived, every sentence spoken, every word transmitted still reverberating within it.” – excerpt from All The Light We Cannot See

I asked one of my girls to read the above passage to me as I typed it out for you. When we were finished I asked her if she understood what it meant. She said no, so I explained it to her…

If we are constantly surrounded by words and information and messages of love that we cannot see…can’t we also believe that the souls and the words of the dead may also be swirling around us, all the time?

I could tell she found the idea of it a bit unsettling…that the souls of the dead are flying and flowing all around us.

I can understand that, especially if you imagine some of the less pleasant souls making their rounds, but…

To me, because of my father, it feels like love…everywhere…

“If you listen closely enough…”

“They flow above the chimneys, ride the sidewalks, slip through your jacket and shirt and breastbone and lungs, and pass out through the other side, the air a library and the record of every life lived, every sentence spoken, every word transmitted still reverberating within it.”

…the air a library…

Just…poetry.