Reading “Allegory” by Diane Seuss. And so this today, perhaps to tell. Perhaps to keep:
—being Diane Seuss, on dictionaries.
(Being Diane Seuss also, and effectively, on words.)
Elsewhere in the poem, this part—is this not the making of a poem, that she is speaking of? Is this not all writing, that she is speaking of?
I am talking about this part. This part here:
I collected materials from the woods floor,
and using a toy hammer and tiny gold nails
built a boat that would carry a message out into water.
I enjoyed building it and composing the message,
which was not unlike every other message sent into water.
It was a child’s message, really.
I rolled it into a scroll, and encased it in a plastic film cannister,
and attached it to the boat with waterproof wood glue,
but as soon as I launched it into deep water,
and watched it drift and bob toward sunset,
I lost faith in it, or interest.
Once it sailed away, it seemed to have little to do with me,
or nothing at all to do with me.
It feels so exact, except that you feel it with a sense you’re not used to feeling with. Like when you recognize a favorite earring, on your tongue.
And then there is this:
Whatever the north was, I miss it.
My life since has grown thick without it.
Thick, like sorghum syrup, with experience.
Heavy with memory’s tonnage, such a drag, such a load.
It has no place here. Be, or leave.
I wish I was less, a recipe composed of a single ingredient.
Can you see with me, what she’s getting at? That way a life feels, when it feels like a body in its worst way. The weight of it, a burden inescapable and ever-growing.
But then, that last line of it. Like the end of a rope you have been pulling yourself up with, all this time:
I think of my long obsession with single-varietal wines. How I wanted to learn and understand, and how I thought learning and understanding was best, likeliest, most manageable and doable (maybe even most beautiful, where beautiful meant essential…), when it was done one thing, just one thing, at a time.