“When Buddha is done being dead, will he come back?” the boy asks me.
I’m not ready to have the death talk with a six-year-old. I know where this ends--when I die, will I come back?
He holds a photo of the big hairy family cat that he never met, and whose ashes sit on top of our refrigerator under the fat squat statue of Buddha, the cat's namesake.
A thought pops into my mind—maybe the boy is the cat reincarnated.
And then the thought dissipates, as all thoughts, and all things, do.
The view from the window is my everything. I watch the outside changes, revel in them. Snow outlining the branches, spring sun painting a dichotomy of shadow and light along the trunks, a squirrel bouncing a branch, a nuthatch circling the tree upside down, first spring buds. I’m grateful for the panorama. Meanwhile, the rest of my life shrinks.
blue expanse the seagull soars out of view
Tonight, I talk to my pain. Personalize it. Claim it, acknowledge it, become intimate with it. Soft soothing affirmative tones. The pain is part of me, not separate. My body is trying to get my attention in the only language it knows, the nerves sending a message to the mother ship, to the brain, hey something’s not right here, we’re going haywire. Mayday! Mayday! I close my eyes, envision the nerves, the route they take through my body, spreading out from the spine. My mind’s eye opens up these routes, creates large empty spaces, imagines soft winds across a prairie—inhale, exhale. The pain lessens for the moment. We all like to be acknowledged.
counting sheep one veers off the cliff
The prescribed nerve pills are supposed to make me drowsy. They don’t. I counteract my sleeplessness by drawing, often deep into the night. Engage the right side of my brain to distract the left side of my body, where the pain resides. When I’m creating art, the pain subsides, and maybe even healing begins, the damaged nerves regenerating. My brain and my body are connected, right to left, I tell myself. It is a physical process, this creating of art. I post the art online, submit it to journals, publish it. It is my way to reach out, to say this is what is happening to me, to listen to what is happening to others. Complete strangers. Pain I don’t show my own family.
at the edge of the precipice a peregrine builds a nest