Follow Through

Light after light after light after light passes over us. We are on our way to nowhere. I still cannot lift my arms or head or smile or turn to you. You have made no sounds, but I can feel your body somewhere to my right. A wheel is squeaking. Sand is lifting up and into the room. If I could, I would press a finger to the wall and trace our path to nowhere. I would find your wrist or face or palm or shoulder. There is music playing somewhere. A piano. Something with strings. I can ignore the lights finally because they are so consistent. Finally, the gurneys stop. A blinding lamp is moved into view. I can make out the elbow of someone else near the crown of my head. It looks like an amputation. I can hear you breathing, or it could be the person above me. I can feel in my throat that something is working at my body. I’m rocking ever so slightly, jagging left to right to left. I can hear a wood saw. I hear an eagle, a light bulb, a tiny fish. I imagine I am climbing a fleshy tree until my oxygen thins and I can see miles and miles of a single dark lake in every direction. You are there in another tree, some distance from me. And our baby too, on its own tree, dangling as if it lost its footing. All the night sky objects are visibly reflected in the lake. Something about it feels very, very deep. I leap away from the tree to avoid the branches and fall until the water rushes up against and around me. I swim in the direction of our dangling baby, who is like a baby in all the ways a doll is like a baby. When I’m in position, it does not fall. When I yell okay, fall, it does not fall. When I put out my arms, raise my hands, it dangles as if nothing has changed. More often than not, being a parent is about improvisation and resolve. The piano and the strings swell and I commit myself to treading water. I will outlast you I tell every single little thing that has ever been.

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