Spill

Between the lips and the voice something goes dying.

Something with the wings of a bird, something of anguish and oblivion.

The way nets cannot hold water.

-Pablo Neruda

Christmas was full of water. There was a spillway of sky from which the rain came down all night and didn’t stop until morning. An ice covered drive that the small, quick boy slid down on his belly. His tears at the bottom when he, hurt, couldn’t stand. My boots, scraping small bits of ice off to melt on the rug after I skated to the bottom and pulled him back up. The splashes on the kitchen floor from the cat pawing the bowl. The cup of water dropped on the floor in the bathroom. The cup too, that, made of the boy’s hands in the bath, held water. My eyes, always my eyes. All of these imperfectly shaped vessels from which things kept spilling. Like my heart, my endlessly stupid heart.

I wanted to teach it to un-want things. To remind it that its job was to simply pump blood out to my extremities, to be only another useful organ, like the lungs that circulated oxygen throughout that same blood. I wanted it to remember its place, the place it occupied for all those months before we dreamed bigger than our hands could hold, dreamed of things our head knew we’d never have. Of being good for instead of good enough.

And still, there was rain. Such a spilling I listened to as I lay in bed alone, as I made small my presence on the wide sheets, as I pulled the covers up to my ear, as I tried to dream of anything, anything, anything but that man, the one for whom, it seemed, my heart was always spilling.

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