Sometimes I'm paralyzed
by my love for him. He calls me from his bed in the middle of the night and, you know, I can't resist. It's the way he calls, not sleepy or frightened or crying, but determined and aware and awake....
and I can hear the question mark so insistent it isn't a question...it would break my heart not to answer.
In my heart he opens the door to this vast terrain of fear. It's a fear stretching out beyond these young years of mine when mortality is supposed to be so inconceivable. How have mothers down through the ages survived their love for their kids? The thought of his mortality is abysmal to me....
One afternoon we were at the fair down by the lakeside, and a vendor had in captivity one of the owls that have invaded the city ever since the lake first appeared three years ago. She was explaining to some other mom's kid how, far up in the sky, the owl can hear a human heartbeat, and even at that very minute I thought to myself this owl could hear Kirk's little heart as I stood there holding him in my arms. Could it hear his heart when he was still inside me three years ago? Was that my first betrayal of my boy his birth, exposing him to the peril of owls that hear heartbeats? Every night I wait for the sun to set before writing this, there it goes now, slipping down
behind the San Vicente Bridge that
crosses the lake to the northwest, I see it from my window...sun goes down, sky goes dark, lake goes black, and owls swoop across the rising moon like leaves blown loose from some phantasmagoric tree twisting up out of the ground
and my voice rises from the crypt of my consciousness shaking words off like topsoil. Kirk and I are bonded by a cord of blood that runs from his heart to my thighs. Menstrual waves crash against the inner beach of my belly.
Copyright © 2005 by Steve Erickson