1. I walk with you through a field of wild grass on a path laid out for us by others. Dandelion seeds float slowly, discernible against the blue sky, like white snowflakes that fall in other parts of the world. The field is lined with poplar trees. The type that grew by my home. I say that. “These poplar trees used to grow by my home.” The sun is out. It asserts itself intermittently in between rolling clouds, dawn and dusk, the pouring rain, a strike of lightning. I have learned to rely on it, to step out when it comes. I hear the sound of warships’ tattered flags flying in the wind of the marina. I hear the sound of poplar leaves rustling in the wind. I feel things immediately and all at once. I am surprised by their suddenness and their weight, like a sharp rebuke from an otherwise kind friend. I feel something in my hands and in my chest when you leave the room. I feel the same months later. 

2. Will I ever be convinced? That I have the words to explain to my daughter the meaning of the salmon she points out near the river by our home? Salmon who come only as streaks of silver light, come and gone in an instant? How do I explain a form whose ontology is only the idea of a thing? Something that cannot be seen or known but only pointed to like a child who picks up a sand castle, turns around to their mother and says “look what I made” as the sand streams through their fingers? Is that what I mean? Or like a hummingbird held in the hand? Is that it?

3. Your hands are rougher than mine. In line at the cafe, I share with you my brief discovery. In response, you rub your thumb against my thumb because there is nothing left to be said. I can only draw attention to the soft reverberation of terrible echoes in the chest caused by the cool envy of hands which have known heavy things, which can promise and forgive, and have the prerogative not always to act but to lay calm, silent, like the sun resting atop blades of grass and the wings of sparrows. I glance out the window and become aware of the millions of atoms relentlessly circling one another, colliding with one another, tearing, shredding the very fabric of things. There is a structure to it all, one that I can give it and know by wanting. If I were to, as I sometimes do when you have fallen asleep in my arms and I must be still lest I wake you, hold it steady in my mind it all rushes away from me and I must reach out to you, grasp onto your hand, feel its angry calluses, and remember I am only a visitor here. You tell me at night the white jasmine vine pushes through the air, shoves aside billions of atoms, twists and contorts itself, hoping it will find something to latch onto. I mean: at night I whisper your name hoping it will bring me to you. 

4. When the moment ceases, I am reminded I have been born from white indifferent incandescence. I think my breath enough to disturb the eternal equilibrium of silent matter; that most waves crash silently and how the sun runs and hides amongst birchwood trees. I am a side-effect of a larger process of material waves, the bending of space-time, the calm, steady, indefatigable galloping of foam on the shore. Also, there is no truth. Is that true? From which justifications do I act? What promises are there? With what alacrity did I reproduce Cantor’s argument? Or Gödel’s sentence? What concern do I have for clever arguments? And with what egotism did they create facts, irrefutable, obstinate, and terrible? Why should I create? Why do I always want and want indiscriminately? Why do my wants feel like punishments? And why does the lack of want feel worse?

5. I fell asleep to the sound of pouring rain. I woke up to the same noise as if each drop of water landed on precisely the same spot, upon the same blades of grass, the same muddy footprints left behind by children running inside, the same space and the same emptiness. Maybe I cannot discern its difference or its empathy, so I am left only with the indubitable feeling of the redundancy of things. An unremarkable awareness that comes from the lifting of quiescence, an awareness that I have shared this moment with you before, that this is the moment I can share and these are the things I can feel. If it ceases, I cannot know of its cessation, only that you are not there and that the moment has nothing to latch onto. Which does not interrupt the brief ritual I allow myself when I am less brave, less awake, and less trusting. Today, the mountains, which usually sit a cliché purple against blue skies, ask me for penitence. My thoughts, and my words, which intervene habitually in experience, are nothing compared to the whispered prayers of rushing water, coursing down cutterpipes, through man-made streams, down the leaves of poplar trees, and across the orange helmets of construction workers directing traffic. It all ends, doesn’t it, like the conjunction of matter, in violent insensitive waves, which I can say nothing of except that they come and go blue on white shores? But, they are not blue are they? Actually they are a torment of insidious colour, insensitive colour, incorrigible colour, colour that is not colour. I have lost you. 

Writer | Esteban Sanchez ’23 |
Editor | Sam Huang ’26 |
Artist | Nathan Lee ’26 |