Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2012 v11n1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Once, I had a dream in which I swam up a waterfall—it was the breast stroke, so it wasn’t all that graceful, mind you—but I did, with relative ease and minimal cartoonishness, swim straight up through the pounding foam and spray—only to exit the water with a salmon in my pants. Interpret that how you will, I might have been just happy to have attained the top of something—to have glimpsed an actual beginning, to have traced my life to a source. I was just kidding about the salmon, but the top of the falls were no joke, they were stunning—on the one side a steep and violent descent, on the other a calm silver strand of river streaming up into the mountains, seeming, from a distance, almost static and glinting like steel in the sun. It made me think of the old metal slides that used to be in parks, the manner in which children always want to climb back up the slide itself, arguing, meeting others in the middle, where, for the life of them, they will not be moved. Here it is, I can no longer avoid saying it: womb—because, isn’t that what they are after, especially modern slides with their shady chutes—because who would choose to stay out here if you don’t have to? So what if it is all a metaphor for avoidance and denial—the daily is hard, there are these tasks, there are the expectations, and fetal refuge was not so shabby, you got your three squares and a water bed, to boot—ok, so I might be projecting on the kids a bit, it could be they are just getting their kicks on a slide—the ride down ends too soon, they want to make the walk back up last, they want it to be slippery, they want it to be impossible, they don’t want the world handed to them through an umbilical cord—but look at them, they really are like massive salmon, throwing themselves back upstream—sweaty, overheated, utterly gleeful—and their mothers, arranged on park benches, holding juice boxes and sippy cups, really will welcome them back to naptime and their very comfy arms—just as soon as they are good and tired—just as soon as they want.  end  

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