Our Journey So Far


Alexa Ross:

As the end of one year was giving way to the next
I ate cheeseburgers with a new mentor,
someone who’s seen the shapes
colonialism and addiction and healing take over time.

I grasped at new patterns of words
to describe what the work is right now,
to describe
the visions I’m putting forward
for a world in turmoil
arm-and-arm with five of the best people I know.

I remember longing for a second napkin,
the one in my hand saturated in ketchup,
and how exhilarating it was to feel heard
really heard
for the first time
since beginning this leg of life’s uncertain adventure.

Towards the end of our conversation he said,
okay, good, I understand what you’re doing,
those are the projects.
But who are you? is what I want to know,
Who is the collective?

Instead of giving much of an answer
I let the question settle down into my bones
like the billion flecks of sediment falling to a river’s floor.

Six separate bodies, we share
our youth
our experience of higher education
our similar class background.

Six separate bodies, our experiences diverge
at our ethnicity
at our sexual preference
at our gender.

Entire galaxies exist at these intersections of experience,
and that is who I understand us to be.

And also our collectivity is revealing itself to me in the everyday,
in double-chocolate chip cookies we can’t seem to get sick of,
in eight a.m. meetings in our pajamas,
in the music that fills our house.

Four months ago I knew us as
big plans scrawled on big sheets of paper
hung on the back of the laundry room door,
never to be looked at again.
Now we are
learning to let those plans go,
figuring out how to grieve together
and what it means to be a good neighbor.

I’m still un-tangling and re-tangling
the relationship between who we are and what we do,
but the story I make up is that
the process we’re engaged in is not so unlike fermentation.
We’ve worked hard to create the right conditions for growth
without presuming to know how any of it will turn out,
and now we must be patient,
taking note of the evolution as we experience it.