I propose there’s nothing quite like having children to really underscore the intense vagaries of consciousness linked to our general mortality. Over the past 24 hours, I first remained sleeplessly intent upon the small gurglings of my son’s struggling breaths, and then had to take my brain in firm hand to move beyond the morbid what-ifs of a scarcely missed car accident. Both engendered fear, but dread is certainly compounded by powerlessness. A bit odd, that steering a wheel ultimately places fate out of one’s hands.
Here’s a poem about it:
Echoing barks not quite coughs
able to clear passageways sharply
eyes open to the ceiling’s blank witness
in soundings dull
swift accumulations silently fill
lungs small enough to weaken
by a thimbleful of ills alone in the dark.
Quickly side to side, smooth ribs balmed
quick fingers unceasing tapping tap the small terrain of your back
brown eyes reflect the dark and stare
one to another in calm focus
shifting these particular fluids of life
and bodies together.
The next day you are fine
and note the glass of the windows before
a drive in the truck also named
emphatically voicing all that is same.
Sky bright, distant trees, songs to please
you do not see the battered rolling wreck
it might be a grill? Still settling roadside
A man’s brief, frightened face striding
back to a mistake, it just happened
to hit no one but missing us all
nothing to call it or save you