stardust – ali lanzetta

i’m listening to an audio book and the narrator makes me want to narrate audio books. i google it, get some ideas. he doesn’t always pause long enough between things, but his voice is deep and melodious, and i like his cadence, which means the parts of words he uses his mouth to point at. i’ve been keeping a running commentary of shiny things he says. i’m being like a magpie for ideas and how they make little weird looping bridges toward and away from my own shining actual body and me. a bone-map is forming. growing its own byways and lookouts and footpaths like an underground railroad for sense-making.
children extracting DNA from a strawberry, i write. there are sandwiches in the secure room.
the psychologist-author tells me (through the narrator) that my brain is 3 lbs of tofu-like tissue. that the cortex is the outer layer of my brain, and that its latin root means “bark”, and that wisdom is applied common sense. if i get on my own side, i can change my brain.
“for example,” he says, “most of the atoms in my body were born inside a star. how far back do you want to go? you’re here because a lot of stars blew up.” everything that comes together must also disperse, he says, but we’re hardwired more for avoiding than approaching.
(is this ironic?)
“your brain is made of stardust.”
my brain is made of stardust.
and another thing:
a lunchbox washes up with a diary inside. a writer (a novelist) finds it and when she opens it to the first page, says print is predictable and impersonal, conveying information in a mechanical transaction with the reader’s eye. (a cash register, i think, an old fashioned one that dings like a typewriter, a transaction is happening!) the novelist takes in the purple looping words, twirling across the paper. handwriting, by contrast, she says, resists the eye, reveals its meaning slowly, and is as intimate as skin.
as intimate as skin, she says. handwriting!
as intimate as skin.
i’m so excited i text greg, quoting Gone With The Wind. “you should be kissed, and often,” i say, “by someone who knows how.”
he texts me back immediately, the blushing smiley face emoji, and then the one kissing the tiny heart, which i think is supposed to represent me, bright and red as a wild berry. since his brain must be made of stardust too, i hope i kiss him often enough, and i hope he thinks i know how.

ali lanzettaali lanzetta is a woolgatherer, writer, and bookseller who lives between trees, sleeps under blankets of books, and is enamored with giraffes, whose hearts are over two feet long. Her work has most recently appeared in Flock, Postcard Poems & Prose, and Ghost Proposal, and is forthcoming in Corium, Storm Cellar, and Glint. She lives in Vermont.