Posted by: alegra22 | May 17, 2011

rapture

I dream the end of the world is contained between the pages of a book. I run through sterile, abandoned hospitals, searching. I run through graveyards. I take stairs 2-3 at a time, grasping splintered handrails, the dirty walls of old apartment buildings echoing with my footsteps and the effort of my breathing. Always, I am chased by a violence that has its eyes set on me. I am never told why. I am just given the chance to run. I am given this hint, this object I must find – my salvation in the pages of a book. I won’t know that it holds the end of the world until I open it.

Sometimes I carry my children on my back. When I can’t feel their weight, I feel their presence in the space between my heart and lungs. I scramble over the table of a Mad Hatter’s tea party and find what I am looking for down a dark hallway in the basement of Cornell University. I recognise my childhood self in the shadows that lift out of the darkness as if stirred by the wind of my flight. I used to play here while my father worked. I was alone in my games, listening to the disembodied voices of adults, the distant hum of flourescent lights and computers, the bang of metal filing cabinets, and then, always the absence of sound – the presence of something waiting just at the edges of things, ready to pounce. 

The book sits on a table and I grab it in both hands as the violence gathers around me. Light begins in the center, small embers lifting from the page. I am afraid that my faith will falter, that the embers will turn to ash and I will feel fingers wrapping around my flesh, pulling at me, claiming me. But the light spreads. It lifts off the page. It multiplies in the air, in my body. My enemies begin to laugh with relief, with joy. We are in this together. The light builds in my heart until it is too much. My laughter is the only way all of this love and awe can escape, and with it, I am split open. I become nothing but light. I am spread beneath the hurried footsteps of commuters on a sidewalk in spring. I am woven between blades of grass. I am the dew drops hanging from a spider’s web. I am all of this, yet I can’t escape the essence of what I am – it is far from impersonal, this Eros-Alegra that has breathed the air, suffered, strove, loved, hurt, lied, forgiven, wasted, gifted, hungered, feared, and stumbled into faith.

It is too much to be spread so thin.

I am woken up by Joaquin crying out in his sleep. I gather him into my arms and do nothing about the sweet smell of his wet nappy. I am greedy for the warmth of his skin, the perfect curve of his skull, the scratch of his nails, the round belly that I can hold close to mine. He tangles his fingers in my hair, pulls, and then settles his cheek against my breast. Next to me, Zaviera sits up, disorientated, looking for me. She is afraid she has lost me.

“Go back to sleep,” I whisper. “I am right here. You are safe.”

Later, I will remember all of this while hanging laundry on the line, thinking of a woman I know who lost her baby. I will be thinking of the people who are waiting for the world to end this week, and how I want to say to them: the world ends every day. This is true for all of us.

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Responses

  1. *shivers*

  2. Uh-huh. shivers.

  3. Anointed!

  4. An absolute gem. Loved it!


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