Sitting in the waiting room, I’m pleased with how sinister all of the Ash Wednesday ash crosses have become. Smudged and torn apart on forehead after forehead I am reminded of being a child with the ecclesiastical mark, the priest’s blackened thumb coming towards me like the angel for the firstborn. My mother and I were ember twins but of course our crosses were always crooked and easy to separate in the special way of new babies. It wouldn’t feel right if I couldn’t pull apart the tendons of my memory through details like this.

When I roll through the darkness I do it fetally, I do it with enough bent structure to keep me attentive. A few restraints here and there on the oxygen intake and I’m golden. Midas was my favorite father. I am constantly entombed by what I least expect. My love returns to make a nutritious meal out of me-it is the worst condition no matter the landscape.

I turned and refused to be tied up and shot in the backyard when he was done with me. I said, I turned and refused to be tied up and shot in the backyard when he was done with me. Once was more than enough. Twice was a sympathy. Three times and I was on the fast track to bronze. A friend and I discuss my vengeance before bed: I question how it manifests in my daily routine and how high its levels in my blood can get. The red blood cells do not look amused. Neither do the cancer additions.

I don’t think admitting anything through any action at this point would do me any good—I made the wrong move. I screwed up the initial and now it’s gone. My therapist gently reminds me that it’s because I’m missing a love object and I say thanks I know already can I resign now but I don’t, I say, “I know. I miss her. Help me.” ♦