Jayne Guertin

I Miss My ""


My “ ” is gon. Wipd from its shiny black ky. Vaporizd into thin air; rubbd out lik a Mafioso rat by robust and ruthlss punching. Bginning with th uppr right arm, followd by its middl and lowr branchs, pummld colorlss, lik th middl C that I printd—with indlibl markr—on our piano whn I was just thr. Nothing vr bing prmannt.

" "—A mathmatical constant, th slop of a tangnt lin, of a crtain function, th valu of a drivitiv; an irrational numbr of utmost importanc. (Not that I shall vr attmpt to us it as such.) It’s tru—I undrstand now— how th “ ” is th most commonly usd vowl. Utilizd, consumd, xhaustd. I’v witnssd its slow annihilation at th hand of th oily skinnd undrsid of my lft middl fingr; a clar blotch whr th “ ” had bn, and from whr a pinhol of light now scaps. Th vidnc is complling.

But what to com is mor troubling: th gradual dtrioration of T, whos uppr right cap is narly missing; lik a cloud, it hovrs atop th vrtical lin, and now looks mor lik a mossy tr top. Oh, dar, th I, too, is shrinking! A mr smudg at th cntr of th raisd bvld squar. What am I to do whn th grayd lttrs hav all vanishd? Th aging mind drawing blanks. How will I find my way? Will th sound of th rat-a-tat tap carry m through— rkindling th addictiv, habitual lik movmnts, of my tn rhumatic digits? Lik a musician’s traind ar, a singrs cultivatd vocal chords. Whn all my comrads hav bn limnd bald, will I still hav a story to tll? A song to sing? A pom to writ?

Imagin how a sht of papr—if I wr still typing on papr—would fl. What of th scrn I glanc at as I swat th kys? Dos it know I’m slipping, that mmory scaps? Is it lonly? What bcoms of rhythm and rhym, sound, rptition and potic mtr? Not only th pom will suffr, but prhaps, too, my fiction, my ssays. My work! This is a srious mattr of xprssion!

I am a dad sa without th lttr “ .” A parchd, salty currnt fading toward oblivion. Drid up lik a dflatd float. Yt, as I writ this, and wondr how I can b m without th lttr “ ,” I am succord by th stubborn blot of my lingring “I,” my dtrmind vowl. Dottd or dottlss. Standing alon. A syllabl, a pronoun, an uttranc unto itslf.

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Jayne Guertin , is a Rhode Island-based writer, freelancer and photographer. Among other places, her work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Literary Mama, Brain Child Magazine (Brain Teen special issue), Star 82 Review, After the Pause, Los Angeles Review of Books, PANK Magazine, SmokeLong Quarterly, The Notebook #5, Women and the Land, The Tishman Review, Yankee Magazine, and Seeking It’s Own Level, Her nonfiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and Sundress Publication’s Best of the Net Anthology. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Bennington College.