I hung my map of the world not without incident.

I mended and prepared its edges, having been torn from years of moving, being hung, taken down, and rehung. Then I taped it to the wall above my desk, only to have the tape slowly unstick itself, peeling away with a sickly crinkling sound. I’d have to use thumbtacks, of which I found several sleek, all metal ones in my desk drawer. They were there among the plastic, primary-colored kind I’ve had since youth, saved from all the years of decorating my walls, taking everything down, redecorating, and doing it again and again wherever I have lived.

. . .

I added enough tape this time to hold the map in place for tacking. But when I tried to push the tacks in with my thumbs, as prescribed, the walls were too hard. I’d have to use a hammer. I went and retrieved mine from the bread box in the kitchen where I keep a few tools; it’s almost a parody of what a woman’s hammer would be:  slender and wand-like, and painted white with—I kid you not—an assortment of little butterflies on the head. With tool in hand, I started to tap the tack when the tape unrelinquished from the vibrations once more. My map sagging now like a flag, I determined to tap tap tap, until finally, I had tapped sufficiently strong and persistent enough to direct the tack into place.

Or so I thought. The tack’s prick had merely bent, dissembling to go into the wall while buckling and bending instead. I’d have to resort to nails. Fortunately I had already noticed a few dabbled here and there into the walls of my apartment, left behind from a previous tenant. Using just my fingers, they emerged with an easy pluck. And this time the tape stayed stuck as the nail went firmly in.

The second and final nail would prove more difficult; I missed the nailhead and banged my thumb, and the nail dropped behind my desk with a ting. I moved the desk, picked up the errant nail, and tried again; and it dropped. Tried again, and it dropped. While my thumb throbbed enough is enough, I was just about to throw the nail out the window when so very cosmically and physically—hammer and nail connected. Then they connected again, and again, and again, until hammer commanded nail into place.

. . .

My map now securely hung, I do see some virtue in this. I’d like to wish that hanging a map might always come with a few pains and difficulties:  whether being worn down and in need of mending, looking a little crooked, or hard to pin down—just like the world is, and how we learn to deal with it.


One thought on “I hung my map of the world not without incident.

  1. jsonge says:

    All these dismissed lives have to go somewhere.
    Are they parallel?
    Are they discarded into some kind of vast sepia receptacle?

    So many possibilities grow into probabilities.
    But even more possibilities look like movie screens
    (secured, tied down, fastened)
    on wheels getting walked on corners by four men in white.
    Getting walked away from the light, the action, the decision.
    As the screen g e t s
    F u r t h e r f r o m t h e l i g h t . . …
    time slows.
    Imperceptibly at first

    The men give one final push,
    Kneeling then clasping their hands in the same motion.
    The eye says the screen stops but it continues
    the dark
    Never stopping, a Pi ratio birthing numbers like national debt.

    The priests in white pray so laboriously, so diligently about each of these screens.
    That the dark will envelop them.

    Back in the light I see your face.
    Your smile and easy laugh make the angels jealous.
    Because there is light and then there is magnified light.

    Even the angels don’t operate with so much potential energy.

    When your eyes fix and stutter and stumble
    There will be so many movies to make
    But only one life to keep within your chest.

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