dumbstruck by prose on drowning. my face awash with tears—my son’s and mine. rain batters a red metal roof. an unbelievable green turns neon amid an electric sky. electric sky. perhaps sparking my son’s fits. five of them. one grand mal. like clockwork the morning of day nine. the clock stops. the fits march on. i drown my son with potions of various kinds. cannabidiol. benzodiazepine. extra keppra. tetrahydrocannabinolic acid. more benzodiazepine.

he clasps his hands around my neck. beats his head into mine and cries. mama will make it better, i vow. my head pressed into his i glimpse my fist. in it a syringe awaiting to touch his lips. i wonder what is hurting him. i think of mothers and fathers who have taken away the pain. i read of others who bring it on. who've drowned their most beloved ones.

the sky glows. the rain slows. the catbird has been calling since two a.m. i shouldn’t, but i know.

precious boy in so much pain. migraine? sweet boy on the mend will feel this way again. i can take none of it away. i kiss and rub his neck. palm on his chest. no beating. what to do? wait. it's merely calm. not thumping too, too strong.

in my youth i used to catch frogs. see their beady eyes floating in the mire. feel their hearts through cellophane skin. yesterday I waded ankle deep into a pond. looked inside. spied no frogs. heard them yawn and croak and call. thought of the tot who slipped on a rock a lifetime ago. the crown of her head barely cleared the drink. her blond curls drifting like milfoil whorls. she didn't move. i stood and froze.

my boy emerges from the deep. still weeping. times like these he takes me down. the both of us drown by degrees. sorrow is mine. his is hurt. we wade, we slip, we work like hell to breathe in waters that may never recede.

Photo by Michael Kolster


  1. Saw the title of this one and just KNEW what you meant before even reading. I feel I can take anything but the @!#* seizures. Drowning.