Psychopomp Magazine Spring 2016 - Page 50

50 | Psychopomp Magazine

there to defend the program. He is there to eulogize it.

The senator from New Carolina has somehow obtained a list of names considered but ultimately dismissed by the Director. She reads the most controversial of these at the hearing, inflecting so that each name becomes an irate question. “Karl Marx? Julius Robert Oppenheimer?” She saves her most dramatic articulation for the names of scientists under the Third Reich and in these moments the Director thinks her voice sounds eerily like the one in his head.

After the vote, the Director receives a call from one of the program’s advocates in the senate, expressing his condolences.

“Really it was just a matter of it being too long a wait for any return on investment,” the senator says. “Coming through like they did—as kids. Everyone says they want to save the world for future generations, but when it comes down to it, no one really cares about saving their great-grandchildren. They want to save their wives, husbands, brothers. Themselves.”

The Director doesn’t need this sentiment explained to him; he understands it well. He drives home and sits at his kitchen table writing letters of recommendation for each member of the project. The lengthiest and most commendatory of these he writes for his assistant.

The Director goes to bed late and falls asleep to the coughing and restless tossing of his wife, her movement like crashing waves beside him.

Salomea, two months into her postulancy with the sisters of the orphanage, sits in the playroom with the milk babies at her feet. She holds a three-year-old boy named Baker in her arms and answers his questions one by one.

"Green is a wet color," she says. "It's the smell of grass in the morning."

“Yellow is buoyant, the weight of a sneeze.”