Meg Winnecour

August arrives full of hope and promise, butall month long she labors. Discomfort builds. The heat,oppressive in its relentless pushing, tests her resolve. She prowls, aimless to the untrained eye, looking for cool.So much to do, to consider.Grass ticks in the otherwise hush. Neighbors quietly water their lawns.All day long, all month long, she bears down, longing to push. The infinite world within--golden and eternal-- curls and unfurls, preparingimminent passage. August exhales through gritted teeth.How can she go on? How could she possibly turn back? *** This late August night, a mansion of rooms intimate with darkness and cool, hums cricket song.Louvered light out over the sidewalkstriggers a longing for home, a deeper sort of ache.Heat lightning against the far horizon backlights the craggy shape of trees:having gorged themselves on light all summer, they too are ready to deliverand go fallow. My mother carried me deep into August, only five hours shy of September. She, too, had gorged on light,was beyond ready to send me out, glittery and shaken, into the looser world.DNA recorded that pressure, the clicks and shifts, tiny sighs, made to accommodatemore hope and the discomfort of my arrival. And all my life, I’ve encountered August pregnant and aching, unable to restbut so deeply tired. No comfortable position-- aching from the root, out.Too big to stand on swollen feet, too full to recline, I can only pace,walk circles in the tall grass preparing to someday sleep. Autobiography Beginning With Casual-like, a breeze lifting leaves on a Monday morning,my sister said, “You heard the cord was wrapped around your neck, right?”And my life appeared in a new shape. I always knew I didn’t belong here.My earliest memories are tinged with the question Why am I here?like a main idea circled in yellow highlighter.Not because I wanted to find my purpose at age five but because I truly didn’t understandhow such an important and irrevocable mistake had been made.I tried to tell them I wanted no part of it, I tried to stay put on the other side…then a C-sectionyanked me from reddish black warm-happy, a comfortable universe,to bright white separation. My first question: where did she go? There have always been truths--we are made of light, and life is painat being shorn from our source,either God or my mother--and so I puzzledwhat terrible miscalculation put me here pumped full oftears and wonder. As a child, I cried inconsolably.But I’ve learned from so many beautiful angels walking aroundin flip flops and Doc Martensthat the reason we’re all brought hereis to find God in all of it, in the late honey light of rush-hour as it poursover the guy slaying his amp-less electric guitar at the bus stop;my daughter’s belly laugh and her dad’s dad jokes;my sick brother who doesn’t remember me but somehowcan still put a perfect spin on a football. Sometimes it’s all too much to bear. Things just make more sense now that I knowI tried to escape before anyone knew me and would be sad ifI didn’t show up to the party.Sometimes it helps to just know you tried. Saudade I didn’t know the word for it back thenwhy certain hours of the afternoon, however golden, made me want.Like many dubious things in my twenties, the empty hourswere a thing of wonder and mine to claim. I first noticed the feeling much earlier though, andwhen I was twelve, named it. Though I’d already begun to shear myself from my mother,one afternoon I remember feeling so desperateI told her about it. She asked what it felt like and I told her,Emptiness. I told her I missed her, that I was homesickeven though she was right there and we were home.We were in the dining room, and she was holding a dust rag, and I was standingempty-handed with the limp and tense postureof desperation, and she asked with breeziness in her voiceDo you think you need to see a counselor? And I who didn’t really know yetwhat A Counselor was said, Nah. In the teenage years that followed, before I had keysto a car that could carry me out over the great expanse of marsh to the oceanand on long sun-drenched drives under live oaks and their dripping moss,REM and Guadalcanal Diary blaring from dubbed cassettes,during those hours that became known to me as the Wisteria Timebecause the light at dusk in that place was the palest lavender,the empty feeling would come upon me like a drawn out tide,those sucking minutes before a storm surge swallows the land, and I would go and just sitnear her, wherever she was busy at the work of makinga life for us. I used to think if only she had put down her dust rag or whiskand hugged me, pulled me to her and held my boxy teenage body,made whole again the circle to which I was still inextricably bound thoughunseen forces forced me to push hard against, it would be alright. I thought. Even now I am overcome sometimes, hollowed out andhomesick for a home that doesn’t exist,lonely for the person standing right beside me who I will never really know. I miss you, I tell him.I’m right here in your arms, he says.I’m homesick, I tell him.But we’re home, he says.I know, I say. And still the air drains, leaving a lavender longing in its place. Meg Winnecour is an artist and poet who teaches art at an all-girls middle school Asheville, NC. September is her favorite month because it’s a whole year away from another August, otherwise known to her as the month-long Sunday. When not making art with a classroom full of adolescent girls, she can be found curled up on her couch reading or drawing with her daughter. Her writing has been published in the Great Smokies Review.