Cemeteries Are My Safe Space
I don’t believe in safe spaces.
I don’t believe we know enough about what each other need to be safe.
I don’t believe we know enough about our own feelings.
But I know I feel safest in cemeteries.
I’ve passed that on to children I spend time with,
who want to connect to who I was as a child.
My vivid earliest memories include three places.
One cemetery, next to one fountain,
feeding the geese and the fish.
One location for play,
for adult attention,
One location for constancy,
One location for self-knowledge,
for being a child,
for growing older.
One location for a memory
that wasn’t altered by time.
One location where my childhood self
but she has matured.
How we are introduced to our memories
is determined by no fewer factors than every adult in our lives.
Is relayed in voices that sound like ours,
even are ours repeating what we remember hearing at times we believe our memories can be trusted.
Usually later than the times when those memories were first introduced to us.
How important then to find safety in a space that offers me constancy.
How important then to bring children to this space,
to answer every time I’m asked in a toddler’s voice,
Do you remember…
the outfit I wore ten minutes ago,
the time I saw you crying,
the way my brother made me mad,
the way you listened to me.
Yes, big kid.
I answer first with, I remember.
I look at her when I answer so she sees my expression,
and I remember that I’m talking to more than her.
I remember that introduction to memory is significant,
more than we can process,
and yet everything we’re processing.
in this space of safety,
whether that is a label that is true in the future,
true in anyone else’s future,
my introduction to childhood
is united through a conversation with a child
and an introduction to my child self,
who hasn’t aged.
I remember that I remember.
Remember when I called you on mama’s phone,
and I asked you when you were coming?
Remember when you said that you were coming now?
Yeah baby, I remember.