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  • Writer's pictureC. Jensen

Falling Apart

Updated: Dec 15, 2019

I listen to Mary Ruefle read a sentimental essay about friendship

I did not know that her last name

sounds exactly like


Which is how many of her anecdotes about friends sounded,

rueful, although not regretful.

The sad way we get happy in a joyous moment, as it turns fleeting.

The essay started off with a brief refutation of Facebook’s working

definition of what a friend is,

but quickly proceeded to walk past the blank blue screen

into stories of

the way friendships grow,

through the carefully choreographed unraveling

of two people, human or otherwise.

An artful falling apart,

sidesplitting laughter a forever moment.

Grin and bear it.

My white dog with liver speckles

pulls me gamely up the mountain coated in the slick golden needles and paper of

frost autumn.

She hears the train whistle miles below the hillside,

becomes fearful,

pulls me down the mountain coated in slick golden needles and paper bits of leaf and litter, fallen tree branches,

anxious to return to the safety of the indoors, also made of bits of

trees both dismantled and falling apart,

inside, away from trains.

Although she was not near one.

She was near the embrace of the ash and birch branches,

some blackened and some papery gray,

still, sound carries

so far without the lush foliage of summer.

I imagine she was shipped North in one such train, likely tied and crated.

Or, that the shelter where she was housed for 3 months was immediately adjacent a train station, the roaring ground and piercing shrill through the cold concrete walls

such an unknowable terror

that bedwetting and waiting for the end

might have crossed her mind


Irreverence is an adjective used in the affirmative, these days,

I find myself wishing I would be described as irreverent.

Yet I want to be

/ˈrev(ə)rənt/ adjective: 1. feeling or showing deep and solemn respect.

Full of awe and awareness of the sublime

edges of all things.

Reverent and captivated and caught in a state of perpetual prayer.

I want to be so reverent that I

gaze lovingly and with gratitude upon

the double whopper with lime green butter pickles and

plasticized American cheese.

I want to be so reverent that Burger King can be my church

I want to be so reverent that the dumpster behind Burger King can be my church

I want to be so reverent that the train beneath the mountain,

full of caged and tied animals

can be my church.

I want to be so reverent that Facebook can be my church.

I want to be so reverent that Church disrobes from its sectarian garments and becomes the World.

But the World

in small places, all small places.

No pew

longer than say

a darkened tree limb

fallen and splintered and clumsily

nourishing the ground,

a form of prayer,

a friendship with the smallness of it,

falling apart.

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