the good, the bad

by tobias crabtree

from a letter to katherine, who already knows all this but who i write to anyway to make myself feel better:

alas, all good things will pass.

so will the bad things…


and you will think of them both.

the good: dressed in blue and lavender and sea-foam green.

the bad: naked and painted for war.

they’ll spend some time with you, like they do with me. taking heartbeats with them when they go. they will leave signs of having been. if you have a heart (and i suppose we all do have a heart, the little engine of our life, thrusting in our chests, being all faithful and shit) you will know they have come to visit.

the good you will try to talk into staying. you will lock the doors. you will put out your fine china. you will serve the best coffee and you will put sea salt on the kale. you will offer your bed and make a fire. you will bring out the bourbon in a tumbler. and good will leave through the window while you are smiling in the bathroom mirror at your good fortune.

the bad will come in uninvited, you will find him standing in the living room. you will say you are busy and don’t have time to talk. you will open every door and window and you will say you are out of bread. you will hide in the kitchen and listen to your breath. you will try to sleep and you will cry into your hands. the bad can endure, he has hulking shoulders and can run for days. the bad will leave when you no longer have the energy to see him. he will get small, like a person on the hill a long ways away and then he will be gone. you will see where he lived when you look again in the mirror.

we are here, together.

all of us.

and apart.