My skull feels like a hollow sphere; it presses like a forcefield
against the back of my eyes, as if afraid of what might be seen.
I wake up, pace around the floor for a few minutes.
“It is impossible to think in the morning, isn’t it?”, I try
to start a conversation with myself, fail
against the unrelenting dullness in my skull.
I name the things I called my own, “office bag”,
“little red Gideon’s bible”, “tablet”, “phone that won’t stop shrieking alarms”,
and on and on. Each intrudes into my attention,
flinches as if grazed by lightning, falls away to be itself.
Somewhere in the clutter lies a marriage album. A photo
rises in my memory: my mother, my father, young and beautiful
in black and white.
Last night, the photo seemed to be a gaze
across time, as if their eyes held the promise of the years to come,
a covenant that held my frayed self together,
dragged me like a tractor beam
to that time before I was.
I try to grasp at that thought, that faint stir of grace,
that corona of humbling faith I’d felt last night, fail.
Today, right now, a photo is a photo.
Like this room is a room.
And I am a thing in a flesh suit, playing at being human.
I yawn. I need some chai.