Usually, there is cold.
Ice and deftness, dexterity and chill.
But when the slow-deep comes, the fire
Lights in her hands. The warmth spreads
Through her veins
And cradles her heart. It squeezes
Like a vest, like a binding
The current carries her away.
She flickers out for a time
And the warmth
Stays; the tongues of flame
Lighting their own way.
Each night my silk-skin shudders
And my yarn-hair starts to fall
The black matte buttons that give me sight
Grow dim and lose their light.
The nightmares climb up bookcases and
Nest in the dust on my grin
They stretch their claws in my overalls
And kiss the freckles on my chin.
I cannot fight the shadows, so my weaknesses grow strong
Each night the dimness fills my limbs
And seeps into my soles.
I try to whisper, “help me, please”,
But the child-folk cannot hear.
So tears of dust fall from my eyes
And I let the shadows near.
With dawn my shivers grow warmer
And the sun brings back my gleam
I smile painted lips at children
Who see only what they want to see.
“Why?” She cried. “Why can’t I withdraw, and be alone but not lonely and be simple and wise and not needy and not needing to be fulfilled?
Why can’t I wander off and not return and have them ache and feel my absence without my missing them? Why can’t I retreat and hide and sleep in silence of thought? Alone?”
Because, the wind droned. Because you are Person. And Person cannot be without People.
And she cried some more.
It’s a Tuesday. The bell rings and you make your way to your math class. As you’re walking through the hallways, someone bumps into you, casually enough. They say something to you and begin to walk away. Only after they’re gone do you realize that instead of saying “I’m sorry,” they said “wake up.” Feeling confused and slightly annoyed, you soon forget the incident. After your lunch period is over, someone bumps into you again and scatters your books everywhere. As you gasp in dismay and bend to recover your belongings, you look up at the person. An apologetic look flashes over their face as they exclaim, “you’re in a coma,” and begin to walk away. A mixture of emotions, including frustration and annoyance, fight for dominance inside you. Only when you stand and consider the stranger’s parting words does the earlier incident resurface in your mind. Feeling a cold trickle of some chilling, silly fear, you swallow hard. But soon you shake off the cobwebs and make your way to chemistry. After the last class bell rings, you are rushing through the hallways to the buses when for the third time someone collides with you. This stranger seems aloof, diffident, as they toss four words over their shoulder in an uncaring attempt at an apologetic tone. Four words that make your blood run cold.
“Doctor, she’s not responding.”