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exit wound

1. the comet passes
I knew him less than twenty-four hours, if you count up the minutes. A rose, a flame, a shooting star, haunting eyes of surpassing beauty. Cannot the innocent survive our spiny soil? Must the flame hollow itself in search of good? I never knew what was behind the wide questing eyes a connection as light as a leaf, brief as a hummingbird’s kiss. The sun shone through his heart as clear as glass in tones of rose and gold.

I hate the thickened skin we grow. Each bruise leaving an emptiness where it’s hard to feel. They say it's really a dirty snowball but we prefer to cherish romance, the smudge of passing brilliance that dazzles every eye.

2. the exit
We have the impulse to slow down crane our necks as if at a car crash. We think we want to affirm the reality, fix the point of exit. We think we want to know but we don’t really want more than a spilled purse, a footless shoe askew.  A bloodless detail tossed some distance from the wreckage. Something on which to pin our imaginings. But not enough to wake us in the night.

Touch the wound gently with the tongue a missing wisdom tooth a dry socket red gel seeping with questions, seeping with answers we don't want to hear.

3. the memory
I did the same thing once in a penny-ante way. I wasn't even going to be valedictorian much less a Yale scholar or a Ford fellow. But I was supposed to have talent I was supposed to be brilliant and all I could think was how can I jump off this train and be ordinary? No other way to live was conceivable I didn't know how to say this is not the life I want. Anything less was too mundane.

The seduction of success becomes fear of failure, things coming easily at first but faster and faster until you are so tired that all you can think is how to get off. It's just you and the blur that the ground has become the dangerous gravel whistling by.

4. the lesson
As a mother to another my heart breaks for you who kissed the tiny fingernails one at a time and squeezed the chubby cheeks and stayed up and worried as the voice changed. No one can know your pain.  

Hold our children lightly as a bird's breath. They touch on our fingers just for a moment on the way to lives of their own. Lightly. Lest our dreams become their doom.

We cannot sculpt a man out of light. It is shadow that holds our feet on the ground.



      In Good Conscience
     Century of Change

   Creative Nonfiction
     A Well-Made Life
     A Clue About Christmas
     Don’t Look Away

     Dad’s Fire

     The Great Learning

© Shizue Seigel. All Rights reserved.