BRITTLE STARS by Hannah Dela Cruz Abrams

6 comments

Not sure what I can say about this, only that I am left stunned, speechless by this piece. Beautiful and terrifying. Tender and painful. Much to ponder…

6 comments on “BRITTLE STARS by Hannah Dela Cruz Abrams”

  1. Even though hope is buried within the essay’s complexity, I found this heartbreaking to read as I listened to the author speak her own words It is a challenge for me to find comfort in her closing sentences: “In the Age of Loneliness, some of our most incandescent flowers will be, as they are now, the ones we call fire-followers—western poppies, Australian tree grass, wild hollyhocks—all springing from seeds that lay dormant underfoot waiting for conflagration. I can see them flourishing in the ash of a downed wood as clearly as I can see my own hand reaching for a blue star in the shallow water.”

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    1. I too found it very unsettling, Barbara. But I also found it shot through with great beauty. Lines like –

      For twelve years, the world settled on us as brine and brushed our toes with kelp. Even now when I think of touch, I think of ocean……In the Coral Sea, July is winter. The whales are migrating. Morning at the bottom of the world is quiet and milk-washed, leaves not even trembling on the trees, water solid as a pearl……Mainly, we were lucky. Our bodies were lean and brown and strong, our vision keen. We lived at steep angles and kept our balance. The coming aground pitched strangely. We stood in line for movie tickets in Sydney with tangled hair and salt-stiff clothes and the roar of pelagic winds in our ears. Whatever film we watched first was never well remembered. We had arrived ahead of ourselves in some strange way, and it would take time to catch up.

      These descriptions of her life at sea move me deeply, help to remind me what matters.

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      1. I do think the author’s experience of the mystery of the sea and the life it supports is her saving grace. Her writing is exquisite!

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  2. So much to consider here. Thank you for posting this — I’m reading forwards and backwards yet, as you say, speechless–

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    1. How interesting, Borkali–I read it forwards, very slowly, and backwards, faster. I am looking for a particular paragraph that I want to keep forever, but I’m darned if I can find it; it sure is good to look for it. This essay is, in a word, stellar, and, yes, brittle. How interesting the connection to Wilmington, N.C. That is where I stayed, in a rented beach house, while auditing the New Hanover Memorial Hospital. Sleeping with a cold, under the influence of Nyquil, while the waves pounded…so close. I’ll never forget that experience: deep and a bit disturbing. Thank you, Julie.

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