moon and mercury

There is the moon in a mackerel sky, staring down at me through gossamer clouds, the same moon illuminating the harbor masts not far from where my mother fell. It’s as chalky and round as the ball of a bone she broke, and the blood moon of the night before as full and red as her pain; perhaps its gravity brought her down. The surgeon cut below the break where he drove a metal spike, then fit a foreign ball into its joint. I wonder if she had an anesthesia dream.

As I glare skyward, I feel weary—all these years pocked with seizures, drugs and sleepless nights, counting them on calendars scarred with black and day-glo ink, splitting pills, pressing oils, weaning meds. My skull is full of woes of my mother's Alzheimer’s, my brother’s Parkinson’s, of friends’ children’s epilepsy and all the layers of senseless suffering in between for which no grand design exists, and if it does, it's sick.

The children, some huddled near my feet, ask after Calvin, tossing me epilepsy questions, pondering the mess of his pain and disability in classrooms mostly healthy, white and neat. Some of their faces are masked in fear and sorrow while others beam with enlightenment and hope. I tell them they can make a better world if only they'll embrace difference as much as things the same.

Dipping my lips in the sweet burn of bourbon, the moon and the mercury work their gravity sweeping my boy toward an epileptic fit. Outside, the storm rolls in, the mercury falls, its heavy chrome-like beads running into one thin strip. Finally, the sky swells and the rain thrums unrelenting, soaking withered leaves, quenching parched ground and bark. It reminds me of how, on the night of the blood red moon, I cried for the first time in weeks.

Photo by Michael Kolster

1 comment:

  1. I think I'm going to start drinking bourbon every night with you.