from the darkened bedroom into the murky morning outside. Instead of looking down from the second story into the small courtyard below, there was now a roof top obscuring my view. It was a living roof, with regularly spaced mounds of earth planted with grasses, not yet grown in, or dying off for the winter. Underneath the roof was a sort of pergola, also covered in half-grown, half-dead vines. This state of new growth, halted prematurely for a wintry death, perhaps not planted with enough attention to the season. She built these things in the backyard of my childhood. Adhoc and browning, roofs without walls. These changes to the landscape of my childhood, the view from my old bedroom window.
There were old campers, the kind I’d like to fix up and to clean. I was to ride in the caravan of campers back to you. Upon entering though, they were so old and rotting and I was to ride in them as they were. I wished I’d found a bathroom before getting on the camper. The space seemed unfit even for the excretion of waste. I had four dogs and a baby and tried to look after them during this transit. I bathed the dogs. As I ran my hand through their wet, soapy fur, I saw their pink skin, usually covered but now exposed. I thought of my son’s beautiful face, pictured it to try to recall joy.
You rolled around on the bed absently, your eyes never focusing. Yet you clutched at her with familiarity. You spoke, to me and to no one simultaneously, explaining that everything people said about you or said that you’d done was untrue, but I knew that you were lying. I stood there watching from the foot of the bed. You thought things were ok, that they were going according to plan. You were jovial as you spoke, as was your way, perhaps a tell I’d never fully realized that marked a profound and intractable self-deceit.
You rolled around on the bed, back and forth, clutching with eyes unfocused, grinning and lying.
Photos by Jung Lee, Robbie Lawrence, Aaron Blum