NYU Black Renaissance Noire Volume 18 Issue 3 - Fall 2018 - Page 106

As if a toddler were a stand-alone thing, unhooked to mother unlike a family of deer. They want me to level the hills to the level of leveled hills. They want me to move the house, to push, to push and push until the house is pushed further onto leveled ground where ground keeps its level. They want me to level myself to the level of ground, of brainless days of leveling everything to the level of unleveled things. They want this house at the level of the groundhogs and squirrels and the only surviving, passing deer. They want me to level the cost to the level of wild flowers, to bring myself to the level of ground. To each their worries of wealth, their passing feet of not knowing who the next door neighbor is. To each their quiet movement through this suburban life of silence, of coldness, distance amidst the distant hills and the sound of mowers and engines, the rushing freeway, rushing nowhere, trucks that never know sleep. To each, their nothingness, a life of chasing winds, and finally, age, solitude, lost friends, nothing. And finally, finally, finally. The new year comes upon us, icicles and snow storms, the cold and the banging winds against my house, whistling, howling as if the wind knows something we do not know, and somehow in our jubilation of the crossover from the tired old, year, we forget that the road ahead may be bumpy, sad, and unforgiving. And no one has prepared us for the journey, and it is only the idea of the trip we carry in our bags of worries as we pound our feet in celebration of an unassuming new year. As if we were children again on a car ride, we think we know what awaits us at the end of the road, or how our year will evolve, and we think we know that the hills ahead will be flattened for us, or that we know its turns, the winding way down at the crossroads. Is this because we are simply human, unknowing, simply as human as we are? Or is it faith, faith, in its rawness like steel, the need to know that none of us will perish in this new year as new as a new friend, the dark morning hour, the midnight before the dawning of the day, the new friend we do not truly know, cannot know the way a checked baggage handler knows the bags he tosses onto a plane. On the phone, my husband says the new year looks the same in Harper like the year an hour ago. Outside his window, it is dark, Liberia, crickets, chirping as always, and up the road at the Cape, Harper is still dying, abandoned city, old buildings, moist air, and the ocean banging against the shoreline as it has done for hundreds of years, the old mansions knowing abandonment the way a woman knows abandonment, a once living city, dead like crabs, on what once was a living beach, the hard hand of war having depleted the city of itself and its people year after another new year. All that we know today is rusted, wasted even as we celebrate. To each, their groundhog, their slanting rolling hills, their green, green of endless lawns, and if a house could bow, there it is, Pennsylvania. And to each, their heavy SUV s so the hills can climb higher or the cars can navigate the hills of snowy cliffs when winter arrives, and the groundhog no longer can bathe under the sun under my trees under my brush under my under-deck under my eyeballs under my nerves where a backyard can scare away buyers, fearful their toddler may someday fall down my groundhog cliffs, where a herd of deer may walk freely up these my cliffs without falling. The New Year: 2018 Suburbia