Periphery Art & Literary Journal - Spring 2013

Page 73


We are in an empty patch of land by my father’s house. These fields are rare in South Florida and soon I imagine there will be a mini-mall or apartment complex here. His tiny body is hidden in the tall weeds, but I can see his little fingers curled around a dandelion stem. It is the summer of lithium and the doctor is considering Electric Compulsion Therapy. The fancy name for what ultimately killed Sylvia. I am considering remembering how to breathe. I’ve been told that abruptly stopping lithium intake can kill you, and I am considering stopping taking it. I do not want to die, so I will wean myself. But I cannot remember the feeling of irritation when a telemarketer calls or the sensation of surprise. Kaleb’s hands are attempting to wrench the weed free of its station, but the roots are stronger than his toddler strength and his fists mutilate the bulb as he falls down. I know I would laugh at him, but my face just twitches and I lay back into the green. I can hear him stomping tiny stomps away, but I know he’ll come running back as soon as he reaches the rotted out fence. He needs me to say, it’s okay, you can go. But I won’t. The sensation of drifting makes me believe in the matter of clouds, or perhaps in the transparency of myself. It is warm, because it is Florida, and I wonder if this was the same way I felt when it was cold, when I still cared enough to make my first snow angel. He comes back with a bouquet of weeds clenched between the flat palms of each hand, each facing a different direction, and his face is all joy and green. Clever boy, knowing that teeth are tiny scissors. He throws his gift into my lap and I tuck one offering behind each of my ears and then behind each of his. For a moment we silently look at each alien face before us.

His tanned blond eyebrows pull together as his stubby fingers touch my


face and I can feel it is wet and that I might be crying.


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