Sarah Lang: For Tamara

Considering how important generators are, / you’d be surprised at how poorly they’re drawn. / I’m talking magnets and copper wire.

Tamara, apparently don’t throw out your textbooks. / I’m running out of advice. / You’re going to be better at this than I.

One of the most difficult things to learn is to be happy for someone else. To let go. There is nothing I wouldn’t do, but damn, this is a hard place to be in. / You will be okay. / We are making this life. / I learned to set a dislocated shoulder. / I have no idea why I still feel guilty, / or sad. / It isn’t even that I can’t get over you: / but how to could they compare. / You remember, as I told you: / the first time I saw you I thought: this is what I have been waiting for.

We used to have this idea of a house. / Did you know your Mum can make perfume? / I just want to back to that idea, / memory.

Your grandfather raised me as a vegetarian. / But not as a stupid one. / Eat your dinner, / meat and all.

Yes, your Mum has a sensitivity to light & so many allergies. / I hope you’ll grow up to be so much stronger.

There is so much water in this world, / as in you. / We barely have the clinic running. / We have to start producing antibiotics.

Oh the world I would make for you. / It still wouldn’t be good enough.

Bad things will happen to you. / Just know they happened to me too; / and I’m still here.

A few days before this / I argued w/yr Father about leaving (again). / Love someone for who they are. / That was part of who he was, is. / To deny that part of him would have been cruel. / And yes, I miss My Beautiful Idiot.

Make sure you sleep. / If you go w/o long enough you’ll hallucinate. / Paranoia. / Anxiety. / Mood swings. / Inability to function.

Tamara, if you ever find your Dad. / Tell him I loved him best.

No, My Husband / here with our girl. / To think I used to have break-

fast in bed / every day. / Before this we were picking out faucets. “I’m only going for a week.” / Now: all the faucets I want. / Home: / where you aren’t scared.

In my 20s, on a train. / This city glimmering before me, / & for me. / “This is for you.” / Let’s play. / We laughed, that game with the button.



I don’t know what happened. / But it was bad. / And it was time to fortify the house. / always sleep with your back to the wall / with a line in sight. / No windows / shallow roof if you can. I screamed for everyone (in hearing range) that if they had medical and/or military experience to step out. / I wanted a supply list of meds and weapons. / Secondly, I wanted someone with paint to paint a cross on the house to mark it a hospital (and help me board it up).

T., your dad worked all over the world. / CERN, LHC Arecibo / and a handful of national Labs where he is now. / If he ever reads this tell him, I never settled. / Not once.

I will never be able to replace teaching you myself how to spot a satellite. / Even the Big dipper. / Darling, know I would if I could.

Any object that has significant mass can be a “straight edge.” / Never only depend on rulers.

My mother would stay up to laminate things. / I get that now. / No one should have to make a star chart from scratch.

My idiot, there are worse things in the world than your IQ & crazy. / Pls trust me on this one.

You were always gone. / But you were always, always coming back. / Husband of mine: use that brain of yours: / come back. / And, yes, anytime is a fucking picnic.

There are different types of stars based on size / how they die or col- lapse. / Some are like the sun. / Larger ones: white dwarf. / Thenneutron star: creates a black hole. / But before they die, / they swell: / a red giant. / Then there are supernovas/ae. As a very great man once said / and I’m pretty sure your father could explain to you far better / “you are made of star stuff.” / The iron in our body is from a star that died. / Even the oxygen.

From For Tamara by Sarah Lang, 2014.  Excerpted by permission of House of Anansi Press. All Rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.