Psychopomp Magazine Spring 2016 - Page 14

a moment I see the bright sky, his great red back above me. He’s too weak. He falls back. I am pressed to earth.

* * *

I saw a movie once where the elevator fell and there was this big spike in the center of the shaft, so when the elevator hit bottom, the spike ripped through the center and impaled everyone inside. So I stand at the edge, pressing my back firm against the cool metal walls, as we make our brief journey. There is always a moment of heavy drag as we ascend., and a moment of weightlessness as we descend. This time, I get on the elevator at the eighth floor and push the button for the lobby. At the seventh floor the only other rider steps out. The doors close with a smooth click. My heart starts to beat faster. It’s not moving. It must be stuck. I press the lobby button again, a couple of times, and then the elevator jerks, as if some giant is rattling the cage. Then I hear a metallic twang, loud as a gun, and the bottom drops. My feet leave the floor and I slam into the ceiling. I feel pain in my head and neck and lift my hand to my face against the drag of gravity, as in slow motion, as the box hurtles downward, as it crumples with a shriek to the ground.

* * *

I go home and wait for two weeks that pass slowly, like a black ribbon of lava creeping down the road. I think about the things I won’t see or do. I breathe the scent of flowers and greet every morning at dawn. I go outside to see the stars at night. I chew my food slowly, savoring the taste and texture. I won’t beg God; I won’t plea-bargain for my life, but I don’t want to be that skeleton in the hospital bed in the living room, greeting visitors with a clawlike hand and my own stench. I don’t want to rot before their eyes, lose my hair, my vision, my continence. I don’t want to have to hear all those things we can’t quite say to each other. When the two weeks have

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