Toskavat

After more than a few hours on I-80, the continuous panorama of fields and ditch has the power to pull loose something rooted deep in the bones. Hurtling towards nowhere at 75 miles per hour lulls the spirit into a state somewhere between coma and horror. It is a paralyzing numbness that begins with the realization that though the eyes could take in a place for miles and the feet could wander every square inch, one could never have it. The motorized landscape enables the eyes to grasp a thread of the infinite that the body could never circumscribe.

So begins a search for ground on which to put my feet; a place that will always be somewhere else. It is a hope that every path ends in four walls. It is a wind that flares the nostrils and spurs the feet to run. At its surface it could be called nostalgia, but at its core such a place never existed, not even in the past. The Russian language has a better word for it: toska—: a longing darker than nostalgia verging on despair.


Dead places call for dead living. Bright lights that eclipse the moon. Strawberries in December. Hard flat tombstones forming the walkway. The body knows this; each is a symptom. What follows are windows from which we can look out, or peer in.