The day we made our Antarctic continental landing (the first day of 2014), I was in the last group to go ashore. We went on a zodiac ride around icebergs while we waited. We saw a small group of penguins clustered at the edge of an iceberg the size of my apartment building and a Wedell seal sleeping on a small shelf. Some skuas flew overhead. The weather was clear but gray. Dry. The edges of the zodiac pushed against the ice. At one point, I reached my hand down to feel the cold.
Near the end, while we puttered through brash ice, the naturalist stalled the zodiac. He said we’d sit in silence for a few minutes and listen.
The world around us settled into gradations of quiet, reminiscent of that world’s gradated colors: blue and gray and white. In retrospect, moments like that take on the aspect of lungs: that expanding, paused moment of fullness, when you’ve taken in what you can and you wait. The weather was cold and I remember that my actual, non-metaphorical lungs ached. But we held there, until another zodiac bumped into the ice behind us and we turned and let them clear a path ahead.
I think about that silence a lot. That pause.
Today would have been my cousin’s eighteenth birthday. 

The day we made our Antarctic continental landing (the first day of 2014), I was in the last group to go ashore. We went on a zodiac ride around icebergs while we waited. We saw a small group of penguins clustered at the edge of an iceberg the size of my apartment building and a Wedell seal sleeping on a small shelf. Some skuas flew overhead. The weather was clear but gray. Dry. The edges of the zodiac pushed against the ice. At one point, I reached my hand down to feel the cold.

Near the end, while we puttered through brash ice, the naturalist stalled the zodiac. He said we’d sit in silence for a few minutes and listen.

The world around us settled into gradations of quiet, reminiscent of that world’s gradated colors: blue and gray and white. In retrospect, moments like that take on the aspect of lungs: that expanding, paused moment of fullness, when you’ve taken in what you can and you wait. The weather was cold and I remember that my actual, non-metaphorical lungs ached. But we held there, until another zodiac bumped into the ice behind us and we turned and let them clear a path ahead.

I think about that silence a lot. That pause.

Today would have been my cousin’s eighteenth birthday. 

What was broken in me that fall wasn’t poetry. My face wasn’t useful as metaphor or aperture. It was only the accurate description of where a hand had been.

"Pain Tours," Leslie Jamison

But what if some of us want to take our scars seriously? Maybe some of us haven’t gotten the highbrow-girl memo—​haven’t gotten the text message from our boyfriends—​about what counts as bathos. One man’s joke is another girl’s diary entry. One woman’s heartbreak is another woman’s essay. Maybe this bleeding ad nauseum is mass-​produced and sounds ridiculous—​Plug it up! Plug it up!—​but maybe its business isn’t done. Woman is a pain that never goes away.

Leslie Jamison (via millionsmillions)

Reblogged from millionsmillions

The skin is a woundable, wounded surface. The skin bears marks: scratches, scars, tattoos, ciphers. The skin is a continuous act of translation, a barrier to, and medium of, expression. The scar discloses history; a touch predicts.

A Whaler’s Dictionary, Dan Beachy-Quick

Before I moved out to NY, I didn’t think much about the idea of home or place. I grew up in a town that inspired a Green Day song (“My mother says to get a job / But she don’t like the one she’s got / When masturbation’s lost its fun / You’re fucking lonely”) and is known for shoplifters that carry axes and/or samurai swords. So that was never “it” for me. It always felt wrong to call it my hometown, because it’s not, and my parents have since moved. Lately though I’ve been realizing, my idea of hometown is much broader: more tied to fog-socked shores, quiet walks to corner markets, empty country roads and a car’s stereo, a dog sitting next to me on the couch, the sound of the coffee pot in the morning, splashing feet through shallow surf, the smell of fir trees and bite of wind and platter of raindrops across windowpanes.