“Leaving,” “Belief Beyond Seeing” and “Chipping Away”

Issue 30 by Kay Cook

Leaving

The sun is not shining at 3am when the phone rings

and I hear the doctor cut your cord to my dreams,

offering no suture, no receiving blanket.

The sun is working somewhere

dictating time with truth or dare while you are falling;

even the moon is hiding.

I am asked to confirm our agreement “no resuscitation,”

only “comfort”

as you slide toward the blue end, the next road.

For 7 seconds I cover my head; counting,

feeling my bed ticking, clocking my mind.

Earlier – 4:30 pm – I had called you, as usual.

You had answered, sounding trapped without a key in a room full of trees,

looking for a sign of tracks.

You begged me to take you home.

No, I am a thousand miles away, I said.

In my heart branches snapped into kindling.

Before 3 am

the sun and the moon

were simply doing what they do,

up to their minute you searched, paced, stumbled, and fell.

3 am

I was awakened.

The sun and moon were laboring somewhere while bedtime stories unraveled.

Belief Beyond Seeing

beyond the walls of prenatal protection

and security of parental presence

milkweeds silently floated onto my backyard

and Monarch caterpillars ate them to survive

I became indifferent to division

or multiplication,

only occasionally considering addition and subtraction

as I sat remarking my room

until thoughts of the absolute value of real numbers

drove me to open the curtain in front of the wood-framed window.

On the sill inside I discovered

several common house flies in repose.

Nudging them,

first with the swatter then my finger,

I documented and deliberated.

Some appeared to stare out the window as if longing for a different perch

yet were prohibited by stiffened legs.

Some had been lucky enough to be partnered

but perhaps died immediately after doing the deed.

Some fell to the floor. Some fell apart.Some lodged in cracks.

Standing at a distance from zero,

I tried to resuscitate one

by blowing through a straw.

Chipping Away

Did you realize you can hear more if you are not talking?

I grow deaf listening, anticipating reaction, like mice to cheese, cats to milk,

expecting relief, a welcome within a hurricane eye, a tire puncture, a knife’s withdrawal.

I observe you gain satisfaction after a full meal conversing

on a loop pickingat the newsbelching nodding

whitening your teeth.

I binge watch you, sort you self-soothe, peeling off scabs while I am

waiting to be noticedgrabbing at recycled wordsremembering

to replace the empty

toilet paper roll and

concurrently I

ponder whether the cleft in my chin directs profound thinking

battle my amygdala beyond fear’s contagion

admit not hearing every bite

prime courage to lure a new language

into this mastication.

About the Author

Kay Cook

Kay L. Cook holds a BA in Secondary Education, an M.Ed in Special Education, and certification as a school psychologist. Born and raised in Michigan, she is now a long time New Yorker. She focuses much of her writing on miscommunications due to racial, cultural, gender, and mental health differences, and on the endless hope for human evolution. Recent publication of her work can be found in the 2019 summer issue of Rise Up Review.