earth's oppressions

A blast of sky presses down on me, humidity's weight lingering in my lungs and limbs. Sweat gathers at the nape of my neck, collects under my breasts and trickles between my ribs. The morning air is sometimes white with moisture, its blades of grass beading up beneath my feet. At times I feel it's hard to breathe.

Plodding along I think of Earth's oppressions, not in terms of weight or mercury, but in time and space and lives: bawling babies hastily taken from their mothers' milk; frightened fatherless toddlers teetering between strangers, on the brink of depression and detachment disorder; refugees fleeing untold dangers crammed into rafts and trucks and tiny, frigid cells awaiting ... what?; young boys trapped in a flooded chamber, monsoons coming, oxygen waning; women and girls enduring, suffering, lamenting the control and abuse of sordid men—some they trusted; Whites calling cops on Blacks who are just minding their own business; truth and virtue under fire by diabolical despots and their cronies, here and abroad.

I hang with my boy Calvin who cannot speak, his monthly seizures holding steady just under ten. For now, he seems happy, is smiling a lot and sleeping well; a week ago, the reverse was true. I've been here before, the place where time and space expands luxuriously only to be compressed by increasing seizures. The new moon is coming, its gravity waxing oppressive.

I think of those stranded boys in Thailand, trapped in a cave, exhausted, feeble, unstable, afraid, by now blind as bats to light. What if one were like mine? He couldn't hold a regulator in his teeth; wouldn't know how to breathe. Couldn't swim or scuba dive, unable to escape the watery tomb alive.

And so, as always, Earth's oppressions lead me into weeping then to gratitude—grateful for my time and place, grateful for my non-verbal, incontinent, legally blind, uncoordinated, intellectually- and physically-disabled, autistic, enigmatic, epileptic child.

Calvin, photo by Michael Kolster

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