By Kika Dorsey
Adam blamed me for the day the rains stopped, the plains yellowed, and our cat disappeared. He wasn’t able to make the decision with me, so I made it alone. For the sake of the baby I carried, I stole from the garden of the rich patriarch, who built a house so big it blocked the view of the mountains. I told Adam that we needed to see where we could climb, so we, too, could look down at the world. I told him the man had more than he would ever eat. I told him, “Fuck the rules, Adam,” and I climbed over the fence, walked past the cherry tree, and gathered tomatoes and zucchini. The tomatoes were ripe as sin, and I set them in a bag my father gave me embroidered with angelfish, waves, and coral. I’ve never been to the sea. We ate them with dandelion leaves and shredded dock weeds growing on the plains.
Autumn came. I never even knew it existed until I ate the tomatoes and the baby started stirring. My life had always been summer, and Adam had always spent his days meditating. He thought his mind meant everything, and all he wanted to do was train it to become his father’s wishes. Sometimes I felt so lonely. Sometimes I just wanted to kiss him, to brush against his bearded chin.
The heaven grew empty, the featureless blue now tinged with a bite of cold. I sought out the mirror of my shadow because it was the only way I could see my shape, how its center rounded. Cops prowled in our neighborhood, and the coyotes died of mange. The rabbits hopped along the streets in our neighborhood. The neighbor’s rooster crowed all day.
Adam blamed me for everything—for saying no to the law, for his broken rib from falling when I asked him to climb our apple tree to get the apples we couldn’t reach. You see, we’d already eaten all the ones closer to the ground. The others were so high, where the branches thinned and spread their latticework in the dry, empty sky, so high that we needed to climb to gather them to us, to bring them down and into our bodies.
I don’t know if I’m carrying a son or a daughter. Sometimes I dream of my mother, but I can’t remember her face or the color of her hair, so in the dreams she’s always changing like how this earth is now turning. And while I turn, I just wish someone would take care of me, but I have made my choices, and I have been abandoned, and I have been visited, and I have damned the river of my body to bid the baby into my home.
When winter comes, we’ll have to make choices without knowing where any of our steps will take us. That’s what’s so hard about our lives, it seems, when you’re banished from the view, but you know up high in the mountains it’s cold, and that cold will come down to you.