In this “sampler,” we’ve bundled together four shorter Cosmophilia pieces by four different authors. Below is the beginning of Audrey Yeardley’s piece; its ending, along with the essays by Phil Brachi, Michael Mays and Bill Harvey, can be read on the Cosmophilia website. — Amanda P.
You Belong Here
by Audrey Yeardley
“This is an Old Soul,” said the midwife, when she handed you to me.
Which was just as well, given that I felt so alone.
And me thinking, If it hadn’t been for you coming, I’d have gone elsewhere.
Not blaming you, you understand. This you must understand. It was you coming that had kept me from going, so tired was I of waste and delay; the passing of time.
And me thinking I never thought it would be like this, after all that wanting to bring you back.
When you were nine months old and, so obviously a wise and observant child, you spoke to me.
Before this our communication had been through glances, your small fingers pointing at things, a strange kind of intuitive sharing of what was happening — or not happening — but, on this day (in this moment) I had gone so deep into unhappiness about what was not happening that I had become unaware of anything but myself.
You were in your highchair, sucking your thumb in your usual reflective way, absorbing my mood. I feel bad about that, but things were not good at that time.
I had washed my hair, wrapped strands around bright pink curlers, and I know my eyes were bright with unshed tears.
You were nine months old and you had never strung words into anything but quiet mutterings, practising sounds as you sat in your small playpen.