47.2 - Spring 2018

Page 110

the night of the sleepout, the youth director uses his “dad” voice to quiet rowdy teens...and you, beside him, floating all night on the oiled rails of Vicodin...your job to video tape [time lapse] the event, the erection and tear-down of the housing units...from bare field to cardboard castles, back to field again...risen, flattened...you stand in the cold alone in the press box popping pills, staring down at the candy land...kiddie camp...a heuristic spectacle for fundraising, for “public awareness”...a night to build compassion, drink hot cocoa, take photographs...Halloween had come and gone, the night with Brittany in your rear view mirror...then, suddenly, December hits: grains of sand, flakes of snow—the image of the fetus of your son [this essay] growing in his mother’s body. ARCHIVE “Fiction or not, don’t we become, eventually, one way or another, our father’s executioner?” —Peter Orner, Am I Alone Here?

STORY Summer [2009]. Time at the shore with your parents. Outer Banks. Ocracoke Island. Isolation. Contemplation. Pushups in the morning on the bird’s nest balcony. Naps in the afternoon sun. Steamed shrimp each night. Read about zazen, read the stoics [first and only gifts you’ll give your son: copies of Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations and Shunryo Suzuki’s Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind]. Mid-week, a phone call. An interview. Shelter Director asks you why you want to join AmeriCorps. Why volunteer at the shelter. Why help the homeless. You tell him: “My sister.”

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PHOEBE


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