The wind screams higher and higher, sweeping me up
far beyond the clouds and stars, tossing me up into the blackness, grinding
me against the moon: I am torn, blood from bone. My limbs and nerves char
and feather into an snowy ash. From here, the earth is only a blue eye but
as I fall, I can distinguish the oceans, the continents, an island, a fire:
I see my mother looking up at me; her hair is on fire and she looks like
a torch from above. Immediately I claim her, drifting downwards in the form
of snow. Drifting is a rather difficult feat; the reddish lamp of her head
is lost in the blizzard. Several rides and hours later, I see her again.
She shivers as I stroke her hair, brushing away the snow. This is April
and the child at her breast burrows his face into her neck; I notice the
child is not human.

What is it? I ask. The insect awakes and starts its hypnotic wail: life,
new painful life.

This is my heart, she says holding it in front of her, but I cannot give
it to you yet. She turns from me: her back is familiar, revealing, tender.
She and her child are a small bluish line.

How shall I live then, without a heart?
Sometimes a person will pull out all the veins in their body and knot them together.

This clot of blood is no good; the traffic blackens the flesh. But from my mother,
I have learned how to wait. As we slowly rebuild our roads, the blood finds its walls,
sorts its path, builds its chambers and highways.

The motion of her body is folded, refolded in snow, but I hear her voice
for a moment longer: it hangs above me, disembodied, tremulous: a sharp,
dissolving gesture of flight, soon lost in the flurry, the darkness; I realize
that she's singing to the child. The song pierces me, travels the length
of my body and shuttling back and forth, pieces together my body and sews
my mouth shut. There are no recognizable words: it is as if someone is forcing
clarity upon me and my mind is too small to process it, to answer back;
my voice does not carry; it is caught in these same strands of alien gold.

To trace--but the snow has spread, covered her completely. I can remember
nothing more about her. It does not particularly worry me, this loss of
memory. In fact, I find the mind overly tenacious, somewhat like a person
who has survived a famine and now hordes absurdities and dirt. Memory is
linked with a fear of loss--both physical and mental. I am going to let
go of her.

So let us say that the heart does grow back, mysteriously, after a number
of years. Will such a person, having recovered his heart, ever give it away?
I think he will spend the rest of his life circling his heart, fearful
and suspicious; he will never let it out of his sight. I cover my hole with
my hands and begin walking in the direction that my father left. I must
recover my heart. My own heart.

The insect awakes and starts its hypnotic wail: life, new painful life.

In another dream, I am in front of a door. Behind it is my mother.
Do you hear me? I ask, Do you hear me?
I can't see her face but I hear her voice, muffled: Yes, I hear you.
Do you still love me? I ask.

I am startled, saddened by this reflex: after all these years, haven't I anything better to ask? This is all I know: this is all that she has taught me to ask.

I hear her sigh. Yes, I love you.

Why do you love me? I ask.

Because I've loved you all these years, she replies.

Why do you love me?

You're selfish, she says, I love you because you're selfish.

No, I'm not selfish.
Yes, you are.

Why do you love me?

I love you. Trust me.

Then why did you leave me?

I was tired, she says, and I was angry. So I left.

But you love me?

I can feel her lean against the door. She bolts it, saying, Don't you know?
Love is tiring and angry.

Let me out, I say, banging on the door but then I look up and see that the
ceiling is a dark night and stars are gleaming from the corners. I am frightened.
Let me in, I say, just open the door a little so I can see the light.

At seven in the morning, I call Anna again. No one is home. I call again,
every hour. No answer. Had I, panicking, misheard her?

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