i’m writing my thank you letter to the universe today.

65% cacao
crystallized ginger
kimono
crinkle smile
smile of a rider
tea that feels like a best friend
the way people show up when you need them
a profound sense of loneliness that turns into gratitude
the idea of creating oneself
rocking chairs
the first time i wore my chunky sweater
softpants that i won’t return to my best friend
consistency that i created for myself
my soul wandering around on different continents and throughout different states
devouring books
devouring life
remembering what it feels like to cook again
typewriters

my chest of drawers was made by a cabinet maker in jackson, georgia. his handiwork could be seen throughout my parents house, the second one they built, the one with the icemaker and the 14 foot ceilings and the spiral staircase and the unfinished basements with the rollerskates. there, we had homechurch, a word which carries the taste of monkey bread and breakfast casserole and the really good orange juice. those tastes carry the feeling of being put to bed after i listened to my mother and her friends play scrabble and of knowing that the adults in the room were genuinely loving towards each other. you can taste love when you’re a child- it feels like warm marshmallows in s’mores and orange medicine sliding down your throat. you can also taste hate, which i imagine to taste metallic and a little soured, like yogurt that has gone bad.

the chest of drawers, made by the craftsman that installed my mother and father’s builtin closet, had tiered drawers; the bottom was the largest. my tinkerry tottery childhood self collected things from here and there. craft project scraps went in the drawer, sparkly things, yarn and stickers and colored pencils and books and journals and

i saved obsessively. as if it were my profession, and looked through the drawer on occasion to familiarize myself with the contents of my musings. i’d rediscover the bright piece of metal that i made in kindergarten, pounding out the shape of a lamb with a nail and hammer until I was satisfied.
now i’m thinking of the wonderful things that i’ve collected along the way, just noticing. just picking up off the side of the street, putting it into the pocket in my dress. it’s the way that elsa lines up her toys in a row and talks to all of them (i’m sure) as she’s doing that. it’s the way that my family plants zinnias in their garden. it’s the new gingko tree that i notice on every walk that i go on. i pick these things up- like the kiwi phrases and the way my friend lauren beelines through the market or through busy streets. the same way my oldest cousin nathan beelines when we’re in a busy country. and it’s the same way that elsa busies herself with tasks.

it’s the way joy tucks her hair behind her ear when she has something important to say and the twenty questions that my cousin asks a visitor to family reunions. its the cole slaw that my grandmother makes, and the way that baking soda is spelled ‘backing soda’ on a recipe that an old friend, the sister of my high-school sweetheart, wrote for me.

i pull out these treasures occasionally and turn them through my fingers, letting the gritty sand work through the fingers and searching for the voice that connects all of those things. you know when you see a pile of someone’s things and you suddenly feel like you know them a little better?

i’m still finding my voice, i know it’s buried in these treasures. in the smell of classic chapstick and orange tic tacs in my grandfather’s breast pocket. in the cheek kisses from my best friend. i’m gathering up gratitude on the side of the street, searching through boxes for the glinty sparkles of thank yous, and writing on postcards, sending them to strangers, and hoping they open their mailbox with a smile.

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