Happy Halloween, Reader. Today seems just the right day to tell you that I am possessed. By the Mail Order Bride.

Who is the Mail Order Bride (or the MOB as I like to call her)? She is a young bride come west. She is both brave and frightened, both strong and weak. She is in a new landscape. She writes to her mother back east, or tries to, the letters never come out right. She tends the garden, the fruit trees; does the mending; prepares the roast for dinner. At night, she learns to tie knots. A home begins to build itself around her. Her husband is a builder of ships.

She has taken up residence in my brain, or my soul, wherever it is the poems begin. She will not stop telling me her stories. I tell her I'd like to write some other poems. She doesn't care. She demands to be heard.

In the last month she has found her way into five or six drafts. She says, "Husband I must tell you: / I was brimming." She says, "I make it appear, I say drain, sink, counter. / I say window, doorway, gate." She says, "I'm all strum and jangle / as he leaves for the shipyard, relief // and loneliness, both, dueling / down my long bones... ."

She is not done yet.

I feel a bit like I did during my first pregnancy -- as if another being had taken up residence and was calling all the shots, or at least most of them. I am mystified. Of course, I am not so blind as to fail to see the bits and pieces of me and my story in the MOB.

She is teaching me how to tell a story, create a setting, stitch together a character -- all without going to straight narrative. She is making me think about will vs. fate, how well we can ever know another, the ways life surprises and doesn't surprise us, the liturgy of household routines, the taste of new fruit.

All in all, I'm glad to have made her acquaintance.

(And now I must don my witch's hat and walk over to school for the costume parade. I confess, I don't enjoy Halloween, and neither does the Mail Order Bride.)

P.S. 'Possession' is the title of a novel by A.S. Byatt. It's kind of a romance / mystery solved by literary scholars. I liked it.


Stephanie said...

Ah man, this situation is the best. Happy writing!

Sandy Longhorn said...

Ooooh, this is so cool. Love the lines you quoted here! Good luck.

Molly said...

Thanks, Stephanie and Sandy. Yes, I'm mostly enjoying the MOB.