It is this. Chainsaw breath shredding throat, the night taking on weight, acquiring amorphous form, lifting moonlight in its quavering fingers, offering yellow-white puddles of light to the gods of yesterday.

It is the sound of the wind, the way it revs like an engine, then screams, a dying woman or a dying car, and who can tell the difference?

It is knowing that if the sacrifice was not enough, then you were not enough, because you gave everything. It is becoming a planet unto yourself, shrouded in the choking atmosphere of your own not-enough ness. There is no sky here. The horizon boils.

It is having held memories in your hands so tightly, making your fists into stones. No, no, I won’t let them go, and yet they slip away anyway, sand snakes slithering through the hourglass, grain by grain, until there is nothing left but dust on your palms, and you can barely recall why it’s beautiful.

But if you let go, lift your hands into the shuddering night, let the wind take the dust, the crumbs of the past, and leave you really, truly empty, what then? Is there life after this one, or do you hunch in the black, weaving shreds of moonlight into blankets, making a shawl of the stars, lying and saying, “I am warm now.”

This place is vast and it is empty and I am afraid to write because the nothingness will flood through my fingers, wash the dust from my palms, tell me what I already know.

In the Bible, manna from heaven turned to worms overnight. Yesterday’s light, yesterday’s love letter from heaven, becomes poison in your palms, and you stare at the rot, loving it, because once upon a time, it fed you.

It is not the valley of the shadow of death that I fear. It is the valley of the shadow of nothing.

Courage comes, not with fanfare or drums, but with a whisper.

I open my hands

let go of what was

marry what is

wait for what will be.

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