From now on, I will grow quiet, gesture you in for potato soup I made just that morning. I will become small, steady like the flame in the lantern hung outside my dead grandmother’s house watching the forest fire in the distant with an implacable calm. I will change my body type, my weaknesses, my religion. How about I become a sea worshipper? I will barter my psychedelic dreams for stated visuals like untouched cups of tea, folded towels, an unchanging calendar. I will accept the apologies not given, feel the kindness not received, hug the friends not made. I will lower my gaze, turn my back on fried food and even forget birthdays. I will leave my wall clocks behind, chop off the years of my former self, suspend the notion of time. I will not leave a forwarding address, litters of old passport photographs, phone numbers where I can be reached in case you want to inform me that my dog has died. Better still, I will become an earthworm person; give them names after the Hebrew alphabet: Alef, Beit, Gimel, Dalet, Hei, Vav, Zayin. I will be and not be, and I will not ask the question. Then, slowly and deliberately, I will adopt another vocabulary. Borrow from the languages of the winter cold, of laughter, of grief. I will learn that the root words of these universal dialects lie in the ancient languages of sea, joy, love. I will also learn their slang to make conversation with the locals. Maybe they will like the new me, don’t you think? Maybe they will call me in for teardrop cakes, mirth pies, infatuation parfaits. Maybe I will tell them the stories of the girl that used to be, refer to myself in third person “Isabel was never found without a storybook and a toffee,” I would say. I will learn their decorum, dances, rites of death. Then, as it always happens, I will have become someone I hadn’t intended to be. But if I should ever call you, speak in the language of grief, will you know it is me?

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