Monday Feature by Michaela Kahn: Fragments Don’t Make A Story

Fragments don’t make a Story

Purple wildflowers in ditch grass, my own bleeding thumbs, heat rise off an asphalt parking lot. Some days I spend collecting pieces of dream and memory as if they might fit. As if together they will create a whole. As if the story I have spent my life looking for might be constructed of a goat’s head seed, a raven, green glass shattered across an intersection. Lines memorized in sixth grade. A pictograph of rain. The crook of my right-hand ring finger where I broke it at five.

They surround me. Follow me to work. Ghost particles that take up no more room than a pin. Ten thousand per square inch. Jarring for space in the car as I speed along the highway. Rubbing against one another for warmth. Sun behind the Sangre de Cristo mountains, a child in a refugee camp in Greece, a dream of my father’s body blooming with multi-colored algae, a pregnant woman gunned down in Palestine, the first line of the Canterbury Tales, a strike in Paris, the smell of Swansea Bay at low tide.

So many details. So many fragments. And the shadows that hold them all together: The lost memory that sprouts from a thighbone; the vanished names; the forgotten year.

If I take the taste of lemons and place it next to the Kyrie from Mozart’s Requiem, take the memory of a falling, smoking plane and place it near the quiet of a heavy snowfall; my father in a rocking chair reading a sci-fi paperback next to the first time I heard Kind of Blue …

This morning the cat
woke me from a dream
of the cave below my childhood home.

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