You Said You Were Fine on Nights Like This
Medium: Hand-spun and hand-knitted steel wool
Year: 2014


You said you were fine on nights like this
is a love letter to her. As in:
One I would write to the part of my self that I don’t often visit. She reminds me of winter nights by empty pillows and bed sheets. She reminds me of days toiled away in silences. So I sat in a corner and wrote to her with the first lines starting with: “Dear / I want to take us back to your end / my beginning.”

You said you were fine on nights like this
is the cement fortress behind every abstract “she.” As in:  
While sleeping on beds that were not my own, I often think about her and movements in an apartment that’s filled with only her breaths. I imagine her hunching over the coffee table with finger tips on the keyboard. I see her walking back and forth to the kitchen, opening and closing cabinets, to come back to the sofa empty-handed and exhausted. I see her turning on the TV — flipping through channels that meant to her an emptiness of boundaries that split into a distance she is unable to reach. I would open my eyes out of guilt that I am not next to her, as if being physically close was synonymous with being susceptible to unspeakable lost. Her arched back comes now and again as I try to close my eyes. I trace our memories down her spine and mark every compunction with a vertebra and a disk disjointed and severed.

You said you were fine on nights like this
is an attempt to answer the who of her and the what of us. As in:
She—I call a friend during years spent together apart in terms non-concrete. She—I call a lover on days I felt braver than the rest. When I’m alone, she remains my constant her, and I her constant she, without needs for explanation or hesitation. Two years after we met, she became my first time dealing with suicide, my guilt for not seeing the signs, my asking how I could have missed her being fine. Six years after the fact, yesterday and today, she became my N.W. still full of flesh for me yet nameless for those outside of us.

You said you were fine on nights like this
is a vacillation between resilience and vulnerability. As in:
Steel wool grew into the one medium I reserve for her—for moments shifting between holding and being held—for finger tips raw with cuts mixed with an overwhelming itch to reach out for its rough surface. In between convulsions and attachment, it became the only way I knew how to talk to her anymore.

You said you were fine on nights like this
As in:
8.7.2008 / Missing you so much. And wishing the pain in her leg go away.
As in:
9.2.2008 / Feels everything will be right in the world.
As in:
10.10.2008 / Just that she’s gone.

As in.

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Installation photos from "Air 5 Show" with the Textile Arts Center
November 6 – 13, 2014
Showroom Gowanus
460 Union Street | Brooklyn, NY

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Photography by Ace Boothby and Amanda Ketcham
Modeled by Shaneka Whittick, Swati Kapur, Kate Bernyk, and Christina Crisostomo