Sense skates over the damp oil of detangling spray. The film coats my son’s raveled mat. His head is a summer hayfield bleached gold and heavy with dew. At the tips, tendrils going to seed thin and fall away.
Down under all that flower and dust, the stalks twist into themselves. Pile up. Snarl. My fingers burrow to the base of his skull and find the nest there. I begin to brush. Starting at the ends, the gesture is one short stroke. Then another. The brush barks over the ragged rope. Its plastic bristles chatter as if scraped across a guiro’s ridged wooden belly. The boy tolerates this, gripping his nerf gun and re-reading Sunday’s comics.
Continue reading “A Frayed Knot”
How many more times will he be permitted
the feel of her
tracing the bowl
of bone where his eyes
swim? “I love
your skeleton,” she whispered
then. Fingertips, face, a husk
of wet hunger and life
in vain, invisible ink
on a saltweed page.
He says, “Tell me something you believe in.”
I stretch my neck and glare at the treetops. “I used to believe in the healing power of walks.”
He does not let me get away with this.
After an interlude of mild hysteria, the insect chorus finds its pulse. The breath inside the night soothes the places in my belly where worry has left bruises.
“I believe,” I say, “in the wide open sky.” I cannot look at him.
I believe in hiding in plain sight.
Also, I believe in the mind’s resilience. I believe in speaking truths despite doubt and speaking questions when compliance would be more expedient. I believe in care. In tending to the body’s needs first. I believe that people are doing their best, even when the evidence suggests otherwise.
I believe in reincarnation.
Sometimes I believe the heart can take the lead.
I believe in language and its ability to re-write what is real. In releasing memory. In surrendering hope. I believe that inhabiting the here and now is the only path to serenity.
I believe in seeking out the beautiful. In moving towards conflict. In stepping away from the familiar, if only to know the wide-open terror of true limitlessness.
I believe in fasting.
In speaking to the future self when the present one comes up short.
I believe naps, hugs, and vegetables are better medicine than medicine. I believe that touch usually beats another conversation.
I believe that everything I believe is fleeting. That everything I hold dear matters far too much to me and not nearly enough to anyone else.
I believe in letting go.
I believe in belonging to the world but being owned by no one. I believe in claiming the world but possessing nothing.
I press my belly to his and listen to the trees. “I believe in cicadas,” I say.
“They couldn’t care less whether you believe in them or not,” he says.
For the moment, I believe in love.
The moment opens like wings.