Amanda Oliver

Aug 23, 2020

2 min read

Week 3: Cowboy tub

from the desert, once a week

I would like the ocean’s small mouth noises in a tub in my backyard. What does that say about me?

I am sad and the clock, which is fine, tells me it is 8:36am. I have made coffee, squinted at the sun, spilled water all over the counter, put on a bathrobe, written, read.

I have mostly lived where everything would not shutup — the car horns, the children, the ice cream truck, the mosquitos, the crickets, the television, the neighbors, the ambulances. Here it is quiet or quails or birds I don’t know or music I’ve put on. Here if it’s a voice it’s my voice or your voice or someone I don’t know, floating over.

People love a joke about living alone and having no one to blame for the dishes in the sink or the empty Brita, but I think I can blame someone else. I think I have.

I met someone new yesterday and talking to them felt like writing in my notebook. Once every few years someone like that comes around and I thank the place I’m living for giving them to me. I called myself unshutupable and they, more or less, said me too. Thank you, Yucca Valley. It was nice of you.

I’ve always thought talking about music in writing not about music cheapened the writing somehow, but the new Bright Eyes album is so good I want to remember it here. On my ninth listen to it, I realized Stairwell Song is about a male friend and I had to pull over I was crying so hard because I still am angry at you. I still am angry the very last thing I said to you was “I figure I have the rest of my life to make you fall in love with me, it’s fine” and you died two months later.

This is why I love like I do, get it?

I still am angry I never mailed the card telling you to come to California, any time. I burned it in the park with your name and it did not make you any more or less dead, but man, was I was trying. Why do I try to gain something over everything? You would have had an answer. I would have listened to it.

I am so tan and you would have loved it.

If I put this tub in my yard it could mean nothing, but I never let anything mean nothing.

It is 9:03am and this is all I’ve done and I feel fine again.


Amanda Oliver

Amanda Oliver

OVERDUE: Recknoning with the Public Library forthcoming from Chicago Review Press March 22, 2022 •