Pervasive. Rampant. Rife.

Acrylics on canvas
People had a smell, especially when crowded in a room together. It was stale and pungent like old oranges, stress, and ambition. We'd grab sandwiches from the same pile before everything was so widespread. Pervasive. Rife. Rampant. We like to eat - it breaks the days into manageable chunks.

It is chilling to think that when we die, we may experience some form of consciousness. One organ will fail at a time, or maybe several will fail at once. Blood clots crawl up our blood vessels. Our lungs crinkle. We become feathery. Softer. Far off.

The children believe if you stick your feet in the lake, minnows will eat your skin. They want to bring home a box turtle, and they try to catch a crane with an ill-advised trap made of grass and sticks. The crane would eat their eyeballs. The lake is rampant with life. Rife. Pervasive. Prevalent.

The artists continue to be clever, imagining a future. It has bright colors, backgrounds. Textures that make you want to touch, and arrangements of lines and shades so you feel something. Everyone wants to feel something. I hang the new picture on the wall, adjust it to be straight.

We count our breaths as we slide into an altered state. If I breathe fifty times in, fifty times out, watching their bellies rise and fall along with mine, I know when it's safe to get up from their bed. Sometimes they call me back. Sometimes, I cry because I want to be free.

We've trained for when the world feels like it's falling apart. All those bad years, the children holding me and wiping my eyes. This crisis is silent and oddly peaceful. We're carving out our space. We're solving the puzzles. We're looking for a place in the world where we know the answers.


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