- Myopia, and: Lightning Strike, and: Mid-October, After Our Last Argument About Children, and: Like Swimming, Like Flying
I could never connect the stars correctly— found hundreds of Big and Little Dippers. At the end of the dock where Grandfather saw fish, I saw only water. The meteors that unzipped the sky fell to earth unseen.
I wasn’t blind. From a bridge I could see my spit hit the river, could watch men line a lake looking for a missing girl. Fireworks dandelioned above me in the fat part of summer. [End Page 172] I saw that a girl as beautiful as my wife could also see something in me. I fold the arms of my glasses before sleep and lay them to rest. When the rain comes in the middle of the night it washes everything soft and safe like the easy breathing beside me. Whatever star she followed that led her here, a forgotten member of the magi, the star itself is the gift to me.
Across the street from it, I watched a tiger in a madhouse. Everything muted yet amplified as if two medicines worked against each other. The sky chewed at the house. Flames curled the edges of the roof, burned blue and orange, the stomach of a dragon. My legs sank in the sand of an undertow. Firemen swarmed the building, so many bees into a hive. I needed to hurl rocks through windows, gouge at eyes, make the nightmare lucid and undo this inferno. Water roiled down the storm drain, reality hardening like wax, destruction as varied as snowflakes and ash. Tomorrow, a hole in the earth, a place to bury my life, a place to visit my grief. What the clouds can hold and take away. [End Page 173]
Mid-October, After Our Last Argument About Children
Mornings we wake to birds sifting through our offered seeds, the last green grass covered in sunflower, thistle, sesame.
I light the gas pilot with brittle matches that burn quick. The thin blue dot of heat feeds on the oxygen of the room. Hungers number in the hundreds, this barren burning casts its own small light on my misconception that a desire for children can be extinguished, or is ever less than white hot at its core.
Like Swimming, Like Flying
Grief works the body and face, the explosion of features fluid and rubbery. It puts silt in the blood, dirties the edge of the ocean. It takes the breath, the legs, makes the body give up like a tired swimmer. I have seen young birds, blinking and dumb, their bodies spent with the effort to fly. Grief is a foreign element we move through like a fledgling’s first air, or a panicked child’s thrashes against sinking. [End Page 174] That we never get used to it is a blessing. Look up. The whitest birds darken against the sky. Silvered fish move easily through the shallows like the shadows of clouds on the water.
Brent Fisk’s work appears in Rattle, Bitter Oleander, Thema, and Cider Press Review. He is currently working toward his teaching certification.