along the way by matthew heinz

i expected age to arrive with clarity
a smartly packed suitcase for the remainder of the trip
instead i find myself standing at the luggage carousel
waiting to recognize what’s mine

from the selection of travel weary memories oddly tagged bags claim me

i expected age to arrive with precision
a timetable of  passages neatly divided into discrete sections
instead i find myself simultaneously held & propelled by seasonal imprints
rotating out of sequence

in the 30-second morning grab for gloves, images tumble into my closet drawer

.              my grandmother’s back as she plows forward in the chilly autumn wet, her crumpled handkerchief tugging at her coat pocket
            my mother’s breath shaping winter air as she walks the horses to pasture
.              my little brother’s hand, cold and pink from the snow, thawing in mine
            or are those my three-year-old son’s frost-teased cheeks I recall
            his hands now so much larger than mine

crisp and clear for now
i can almost taste a time
at which a bite in the morning air and a flurry or two will blend those images, scents and smells into one visceral recognition: winter

i expected age to arrive with rationality
a greasy, dog-eared manual of tested decision-making criteria
i find myself intuitively weaving in and out of places
existing only in a fragile mass of neurons

one wonders about  winters lost in synaptic transmissions,
winters whose stage productions can no longer be corroborated,
forty-six winters competing for sensory primacy
in a setting as fragile as fresh snow


Copyright © matthew heinz. Originally published in Entering Transmasculinity (Intellect Press, UK, 2016).


matthew heinz is grateful to work and write at Royal Roads University, which is located on the traditional lands of the Xwsepsum (Esquimalt) and Lkwungen (Songhees) ancestors and families. He is the author of Entering Transmasculinity: The Inevitability of Discourse (Intellect Press, 2016). A communication scholar, he writes on the intersections of gender, language, identity, and culture.

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