Dec 06

Nautilus

Again, I hold the nautilus in my hand. My fingers trace its spotted streaks, and carefully lift it to my ear. What do I hear?
 
I don’t breathe, waiting for that undeniable moment of today to make itself known. The hot rush of life, the frantic chaos of a steadily disappearing bedroom floor, the delete delete delete button on the laptop tapping tapping tapping, stills. I lean long against the empty bookshelves, empty dreams, and feel the cartilage of my ear against the hard calcium of pink. What do I hear?

Some say that when they listen into the heart of the nautilus, they hear the murmur of distant waves. Some - the poets among us - say it is a memory of a promise long forgotten. Others tell me they hear death. It was a wet-eyed girl who said that. Others.

But I hear none of these. I listen. I am a good listener. But even the good listener will hear nothing, if that is what they hear. I hear nothing. I try to romanticize the silence into something tangible that I too can post across the billboards of my soul. Everyone hears something. Am I not . . . part of . . . everyone?

Each day, I pick up the nautilus. Each morning, I wake with expectation for what is to come. Perhaps I am one who hopes too much, dreams too much, cries too much . . . for what may be inevitably impossible. Yet, I still keep that old shell close by, a charm that has never fully become my own, but stands merely as evidence for my lack. I still lift it to my ear each day, wondering what it will be this time - the ocean? A memory of a kiss? Death? Or just, again, nothing. Silence.

Today, I listen again. I wish again, that my imagination would extend beyond my pen to reach the channels that lead from outer ear to middle ear to inner ear deep down to yearning heart. To fantasize what is not, but could be . . .

For now, I live what is. Even silence has a voice.