#277: The Topography of Our Intimate Being


The Topography of Our Intimate Being

is a box
or a series of boxes.
I’m in there,
over four decades
on hundreds of scattered
pages, in a drawer,
on a shelf, the most
recent version of
myself in a box
on my writing desk,
or, where the oldest
pages are stored, in bins
in the basement,
in a room we call “scary,”
only because it’s the only
enclosed space down there–
and when we bought
the house the door
had a latch for a padlock
as if the previous owners
intended to keep something
or someone in or out.
I’m in there with
the earliest pages,
yellowing now and a
little fragrant from years
of isolation, a novel I wrote
when I was twelve, another
when I was thirteen,
a series of silly essays
I wrote as a teenager,
and then all the detritus
of six years of college
and my first serious attempts
as a fiction writer and poet.
I never look at this stuff
but I continue to save it,
this record of self,
these word snapshots,
moments in time of me
becoming myself becoming
still another self. Who, if anyone,
will know? Who, if anyone, will see?
Who might discover or map
this topography of intimate being?

Published by michaeljarmer

I'm a public high school English teacher, fiction writer, poet, and musician in Portland, Oregon

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