“Everything the eye sees enters a circle, / The world is connected to a circle: breath spools from the nostrils / And any love to be open becomes an O.”

How to Draw a Perfect Circle, Terrance Hayes, 2015


It’s 5:30 and the baby monitor is talking to me. I can barely open my eyes and I was up too late, again, but someone is calling and I have to answer. I have two hours until there are no little chirps to fill my ears and no small, running steps circling the house. At 7:30 my son’s father picks him up and the longest silence sits down in my home and rests for a day and a half. Every tired second of those two hours are precious, necessary.

When you live alone the sounds you make can feel like they’re projections of the thoughts that circle in your head as you move through the day. It’s an untroubled routine, and it can be a little surreal and unnerving at first. When my son is gone I can’t help but feel like something is missing, no matter how peaceful silence can be.

“Everything is connected / By a line curling and canceling itself like the shape of a snake / Swallowing its own decadent tail or a mind that means to destroy itself”

The word cleave can be used in two ways: split or sever (something), especially along a natural line or grain or to stay very close to (someone) or (something). When my son is away from me there‘s a phantom sensation — that missing piece is everywhere in his toys, blankets, and smell around the house. He’s gone but always close. His absence reminds me of him and the reminders of him make his absence all the more real.

Separated from the body the eye begins / its own journey. The world comes full circle: the hours, the harvests, / When the part of the body that holds the soul is finally decomposed / It becomes a circle, a hole that holds everything: blemish, cell, / Womb, parts of the body no one can see.

I never expected to have to spend days and nights away from my son when he was under two years old, but his sweet, wild path has led us there and he’s adjusted to the routine between a mother and a father’s house. Already his own person, he has a fullness to his awareness and nature that I am in awe of. When I send him out the door at 7:30 on those two days I wish I could hold him forever. I know that half of me will always walk out of the door when he does, whether he’s two years old and carried by his father or 20.

You must look without looking to make the perfect circle.



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Margaret Starry

Margaret Starry

Technical writer & music obsessed “Mam”