Since you've been gone

Marin Heinritz


I ate two dozen corny dogs from the freezer. I talked to two astrologers; one told me I’ve got a shark at my door and the other one said I’d never find a man who loved me as well as my father. A Tarot card reader in Dublin said, “Don’t be afraid of your femininity.” I fasted, binged on protein shakes, ate nothing but cabbage soup, quinoa and umeboshi plums, alternately cut out sugar, dairy, wheat, meat. I got so hungry for sweetness I licked a used-up ketchup packet. I went to Marienbad for the waters, Karlovy Vary for the waters, Lake Ballaton for its thermal, sulfur water. The Virgin Mary dragged my ass to Medjugorje where a translator told me Our Lady loves me just as I am. I did the Stations of the Cross up the mountain where a devout believer in the apparition commanded me to cover up my breasts. Sarajevo felt more holy—with its neat, white grave markers that went on for miles and barking dogs and bullet-riddled buildings and the yellow Holiday Inn where all the journalists were holed up. Since you’ve been gone I attended three weddings alone and danced my hair straight. I dated a doctor, a filmmaker, a soldier, an author, a surgeon, a bookmaker, a bar owner, a mixed martial artist who kept a plastic man in his garage to fight, and the son of an African diplomat. I ran marathons in San Francisco, Chicago and Michigan City, Indiana. I took yoga classes in Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, Prague and Little Rock. I walked El Camino de Santiago, the labyrinth at Chartres, and Ghandi’s salt walk. I took the number 15 bus to Rosslyn Chapel and didn’t find the Holy Grail. I got acupuncture from a butch little Chinese lady from Detroit who told me my parents never got over each other. After going broke, I went back to the chiropractor, because it seemed like the cheapest way to balance my chakras. I also went back to Inisbofin, the island of the white cow off the coast of Connemara, to see if that place was still there—the little rocky cove where lilting foamy waves crashed—the place I created and went to in my mind to escape you. But it wasn’t there. Since you’ve been gone, I got massaged in fifteen countries, in Mexico by two women at once and in Budapest by a little rosy Santa Claus. I sat in saunas until I shriveled, willing out your toxic waste through my pores. One time my sweat came out milky and I wished it were a good omen. It wasn’t. I put myself in the hands of an ayurved who prescribed pancha karma. I drank clarified butter, shoved it up my nose, dabbed it in my eyes, doused my ears with it; every orifice was filled with gold. I vomited, expelled a pile of shit that could have been the backdrop of a small village, did a bark tea enema and a small, though not painless, bloodletting. With each release, I dreamed it was you. Then, finally, I touched the far edge of my emptiness and settled right down in its center.