People ask about the bruises & I tell them I’m clumsy. I tell them they’re purple pansies, yellow-eyed I love yours winding their green stems around my body. The truth gets caught in my throat.
– from “Trapping Season”
When we are black holes and unknowing about what lies ahead and how we will handle it, we are left to wonder how we got there in the first place. Where did life take a turn? Was it the right path? Are there elements of life’s map that can be avoided. Can we choose our own adventures? Laura Villareal’s The Cartography of Sleep (Nostrovia Press) takes us inside a world filled with dishonesty, familiar feelings, and fear of the self – fear of being splintered rather than alone.
If life is lived, vicariously, through dreamscapes and if the moon hotel’s bellhop is “trolleying [the moon’s] baggage on a brass birdcage cart,” then we are destined to hold the weight of the universe on our backs. It’s the guilt of the world. It’s the want to save yourself despite your life’s trajectory. It’s looking toward the truth and wondering which version lies ahead.
Villareal gives us darkness and hopes that we can dig our way to the light – even if only a subtle one. In the end if only the reader must hope to:
“Collapse into myself
like a black hole. Then at least my gravity would matter.”
It’s not always the best ending, but life provides us with multiple truths and storylines, and it is our job to choose one and fight through our decisions.