Mother Ocean, Sister Breeze

While she was warming the last of some leftover lamb stew for yesterday’s lunch, I told my wife I would like nothing more than to sit down to a heavy, leisurely meal and then crawl into bed and sleep for a day or two. As I spoke, I pictured myself kneeling by a fire, surrounded by benevolent darkness, tending to skewers laden with tender wild game, as heavenly, aromatic fat dripped onto the coals. Then I pictured myself pulling back the covers on the bed I haven’t slept in for the last five months and falling into a deep, contented sleep as my head sank back into the pillow.

“What’s wrong with Daddy?”

“Nothing. Daddy’s dead.”

“Dead? How can you tell?”

“I can tell because he’s smiling. He always smiles when he’s dead.”

“Oh. He is smiling, isn’t he? I like it when Daddy smiles.”

“So do I. Now, let’s not disturb him.”

And one by one, my family of ten thousand children quietly tiptoes out of the room. Black children. Armenian children. Basque children. French children. Italian children. Icelandic children. Children from South America. Children from the frozen North. Children from Siberia, Mongolia, China, and Japan. A million ten thousand children, as plentiful as grain.

I am in a boat. The boat is rocking on peaceful waters. Mother Ocean. Sister Breeze. The sun is music in my bones. I can hear it calling. Come home. Come home.

October 21, 2006

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