Fiction — February 3, 2015 11:39 — 0 Comments

Write it! – Robert Del Mauro

I can hear the white pills crushing. Then it sounds like someone else is inhaling, but I’m the only one here, sitting in my dorm room, listening to Tchaikovsky’s First Concerto. There is a rush of wind and the floor drops from below my feet, taking the chair with it. I’m flying through the air, trying to figure out what happened to the dorm and the Earth and the light. I seem to be falling, or maybe rising. I can’t be floating – the wind is blowing my hair in all different directions.

And then I remember: I have homework to do. A desk appears with an anthology of poetry, and as the pages open, dust flies everywhere. I cough and squeeze my eyes shut. I can feel the particles settle. I open my eyes. I am cold, almost frozen. I can feel my eyelashes and eyebrows harden. I’m scared they will fall off, leaving my blue eyes unprotected from the snow. The words “Desert Places” are hanging from the sky. Robert Frost.   There is a fox growling at me. Go ahead. I don’t want to live anyway. I blink.

It’s just as cold, but I’m much more tired. The wind is still blowing through my hair, but I’m in the woods now. I realize that my depression is all around me, in the falling snow. I don’t want to make it out of this storm alive. This must be “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” I get Frost’s irony now. It’s in the repetition; I barely have feet to go before I sleep.

Then it’s Margaret Atwood yelling at me to get “Up.” The wind blows and the pages flip and I’m suddenly standing by a lake, but it’s fuzzy like an old photograph. I feel like I’m drowning, but I know that I am not and I know that it’s all in my head. I read: “This Is a Photograph of Me.” And I’m confused – am I drowning or not? Damn modernists.

Now I can’t stop writing and I don’t know why. I’m staring at my hand as the pencil prances across paper, wondering whether my words are speaking the truth, or whether I’m confining the truth to my words. What an abstract thought. My book is open to “You Begin.” That explains it.

Well if I’m not writing to convey a truth, then what am I doing here? I’m cold and depressed and alone and I just can’t breathe. I pause and look up. Elizabeth Bishop is sitting right in front of me. How could I have missed her? She must see how crazy all this is, how disastrous. And then I watch the words flow from her lips: Write it!


Robert is currently a student at Dartmouth College. His poetry can be found in Emerge Literary Journal, Third Wednesday, Eunoia Review, and Foliate Oak Literary Magazine. The first chapter of his memoir will be published in April. He is also a Pushcart Prize Nominee.

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The answer isn't poetry, but rather language

- Richard Kenney