Friday, June 3, 2011

The Week of Heavy Sighs

There's been much sighing in my house.  My spouse does much of his work from home, and when he's got deadlines, and he's pushing up against them, he lets out a massive sigh for every 3rd breath.

How do I know this?  When I'm working at home, our computers are across from each other.

Yes, it's not the cozy situation I envisioned.  When I was young, I loved stories of writers who shared lives in such intertwined ways, working in the same study, reading each other's rough drafts, cozy, cozy, cozy. 

That's not my life this week.  When my spouse is really neck deep in reports and e-mails, he'll start to mutter.  It's like sharing a study with a demon-possessed person.

Well, maybe not.  I suppose a demon-possessed person would be more violent, or have more spitting, or something.

Other people are having weeks of heavy sighs too.  Flooding in South Dakota, tornadoes in Massachusetts (really?  can it be?).  And that's the national scene.  You can probably come up with any number of heavy sighing happening in your local neighborhoods.

I try to tell myself that sighing is just a way of getting fresh air into the far reaches of the body.  Some days, I can believe that.

I wrote this poem a few years ago after a similar week.  It just appeared in the lovely journal Emrys, a journal which has changed shape and design completely since the last time they published a poem of mine.


In your heavy sigh, I hear the sound
of glaciers melting drop by drop,
the crunch of the boot on the neck,
the whispered plotting of antibacterial-resistant staph
germs in a sterile operating room,
the creak of a joint
before it turns to the scraping of bone on bone,
the steady drip of every leaking piece
of plumbing that ever betrayed me.


Jim Murdoch said...

My wife and I have had several goes at this. When she first came over here we had to share a computer for a couple of weeks until we could get one for her; that was no fun at all. Soon afterward we had two desks side by side and it worked just fine. In the next flat we shared an office – she worked in one corner and I in the other – and that was okay. The next flat was smaller and we had to split the large living room but, again, we each had our corners. Only in this flat do we have our own offices – it was one of only two preconditions I laid down (the other was, “NO garden”) – and for a few years we worked quite happily in our own rooms; she could be as messy as she wanted and I could have a tidy, orderly space to retreat to, but for the last four years both of us have started working on laptops in the living room; she sits on the couch with a little table and I have a little office space in the alcove by the window. I need the extra space because I use a separate laptop for music. Neither of us spends any real time in our offices. I still like the fact that I have a private place and I know she feels the same but the need for privacy isn’t there. We don’t have to spend every minute together, we just choose to.

Of the two of us I am the sigher, no doubt about that.

Kristin said...

Thanks for sharing your experiences, Jim. I find it fascinating to hear how others have attempted sharing living spaces.

I believe in communal living (or perhaps living in community), but I'm not always good ad it.