• Shawn McNulty-Kowal

Notes For The Future

[for record’s sake] Tomorrow I turn twenty-one years old. In twenty-one years, I’ve fallen in love twice, thought on mortality more than twice, and fallen asleep to “Who Knows Where The Times Goes” on more than 636 occasions. Emily Dickinson is still my favorite poet and French Fries are still my favorite food. I still think about my dead grandmother and her honey tea and I still talk to her before I close my eyes for the night and I still cry about her when I drink too much red wine. Côtes du Rhône is still my favorite red wine. Rebecca Nurse is still tormented and Salem is still hysterical. And I still haven’t a hang on myself just yet.


Someone called me crazy the other day and I liked that. I said,

“So are you.” I wonder if he believed me.

When I wake up in my childhood bed these mornings, it feels different. Perhaps, the sun forgot about me since I left, but its rays don’t tap me the way they used to. That sort of tap on the cheek your mother gave you before you got out of bed to get dressed for school. Nowadays, it feels like the sunlight just barely pokes its way through my shutters in the morning to tell me, “The afternoon is quickly approaching - get up, son.” I wonder if that’s what the sun would say if it held air, a pair of lungs and the ability to smile.

I still watch my mother talk to deer as if they are her own fawn and I’m reminded of her ecclesiastical way of loving - I bet the deer dub it sanctimony. When my mom hugs me, it is baptismal. The way she does loving will be written in books and rewritten and taught and rewritten until the act of her love innately presents itself as being so inconceivably biblical that people will deny its obvious existence.

I still look forward to car rides to the supermarket with my father which are, more often than not, charged with a sort of silence that is synonymous with consciousness or familiarity - defined by a sort of love that’s so tender, it will be my life’s challenge searching not for its replacement, but for its competitor. The only sound: a tap tap tap from my father’s finger on the steering wheel.

I still fall asleep to Nina Simone and I still prefer rain to sun. And I still find solace on my hammock. Mary Magdalene’s pursuit is still my personal precedent for Loyalty and loneliness still is a hard habit to hit, but when does truism turn cliché and when does quietude turn ritual?




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