i wish it would rain again. patter on the roof. soothe my sorrows. quench and cleanse. inside, the light is warm and dim. my sister sent me a photo of an old flame. i can't quite place his face. don't know it's him. but then. but then. i note a smile that's only his. like so many, it's unfading. some things hardly change from their beginnings.
outside, winds arise and finger through the trees. pine needles shed like rain. the ground below turns solid copper. clouds begin to break as soon as they close in. again. again. leaves turn gold and crimson from one day to the next. autumn's alchemy. someday soon, a withering frost will hit. the moon is full again.
i crawl into bed with my son for the umpteenth time. he has just had a little fit ... again. his face is pale. i syringe a bit of cannabis between his lips. change his millionth diaper. in his short life, i've given him unknown numbers of pills and milliliters of medicine. still he seizes. again. again. in so many ways, he's still like an infant—drawing his knees up to his chest. wrapping his little arms around my neck. i think back to the week he was born. hooked up to leads and tubes inside a plexiglass box in the hospital. michael got no respite from work. instead, he was asked to do extra. thankfully, he declined the request. for seven weeks, calvin never left the hospital. my days and nights were spent there in the room with him. before and after work, michael provided us sustenance. so did some of our friends. it was all so uncertain and exhausting. and then. and then. seventeen years later, we're still dealing with calvin's diapers. still spoon-feeding him. still dreading the next seizure. each day the same. few changes. again. again.
the clock is off. it chimes four times at half past ten. it doesn't matter. its gong is comforting. smooth and round and soft like the box of wood that houses it. i think of the timepiece's beginning. a seed. a sprout. a sapling. a tree. a trunk. a log. a plank. a clock. i recognized my face in it when i entered the antique shop. i barely had a dime in my pocket. still, i knew i had to bring it home. it reminds me of getting through hardships. tick tock. tick tock.
as calvin rests, i see pictures of other people's kids standing straight and strong. they smile and wave and clown for the lens. i see photos of them running. playing sports with other children. watching movies with their kin. i'm fascinated. feel at once happiness and envy. i've learned to hold both emotions. it's necessary for understanding and survival. forgiveness. if only things had been different from the beginning. but then. but then.
the cast iron stove creaks with heat from a fire lit with paper and kindling. below the flames, a pile of embers glows and crumbles into chunks still reminiscent of their beginning. i hear my son up in his bed. he's rustling around in the covers. each time he moves his bed clicks. it triggers me. when i reach him, he's in the middle of another fit. those roving eyes and dusky lips. and i remember again when it all began. and how the fear and hurt and angst and stress keep happening. just like in the beginning. reliable, like the full moon and the rain and sun and wind. each week and month and year are the same. again. again.