thoughts before i said goodbye

Sophia Youngdahl - Senegal


April 18, 2019

From my journal, 23 March 2019… when goodbye was still a fleeting idea

I cannot define what force holds me here

What roots I have somehow discovered

Curling their way upwards to the sunlight

Seemingly carved into existence

By red clay

And ancient hands,

A face with crinkles when she smiles and the belt of Orion in her eyes.

I am so warm.

I feel that I am as sweat careens down my face, making patterns in the sand that has  made its refuge

A respite from traveling on the fingertips of the wind.

But this feeling that ropes itself through me

This vibrant, pulsing warmth

is the color of the mid afternoon sun

That bows it’s head

and gently grazes its lips to the trodden tile of sunset below

Caressing dancing patterns

through leaves and lace curtains.

I am held in the palm of the present.

And yet everything is circling back now

Time’s dance running anew

Sand through my grasping fingers

Ten nine eight seven sixfivefourthreetwoone

And how could I possibly go?

And how could I possibly stay?

And who will I be when I return?

I wear thin cotton on my shoulders

And a rage of roses on my cheeks

Thousands of unsaid words

And unsung goodbyes

Held captive by a blush of chapped lips

Retained breathless in a moments whisper

A second from overflowing

Words too startling to be revealed

Too real to be released into the harsh light of day

I l l u m I n a t e d.

The mosaic is cracking, shattering,

the painted sky of a fiery sunset,

and everything

is contained in the subtle presence of a singular green clothespin

Hanging upside down from the clothesline

Swinging in the slight breeze

That rustles my hair

Making strange dancing patterns on this ink stained paper

I am still.

all I can do now is pluck fleeting moments from thin air

And pen them into the semi-permanence of blue ink,

Living memories secured by red leather walls,

As if they are all I will have left,

When the world begins to spin as it once did

And I stand breathless
Longing for home and sandy footprints.

Sophia Youngdahl