Martha Nell Cooley, excerpt from
"I move, gigantic"

He is unconscious now; moments ago he was awake. I run my fingers through my bangs like a comb and yank them up as if to pull my whole head from the pillow, but it stays where it is. Only the skin of my forehead rises, becomes taut. Do you ever glance at something in your vicinity and it looks inexplicably different, bigger, lighter, emptier? The window beside our bed appears this way, as if the top had been previously obscured by a valance and is now bare. Or as if the opening of the window itself has become taller, letting in more light. In sleep his face appears crushed, closed up and put away.

I move, gigantic, from the bed. The flesh of my stomach folds against itself. A bodily dread settles in. I only hope to be allowed to continue for a certain amount of time freely, unreflected. Even the surface of my laptop screen threatens me with imagery for a few seconds, before the backlight turns on.

For days now I have been clearing my throat in preparation, it sounds like, for speech.

The other evening, I was ecstatic. My mood clicked into place like a well-fitting Tupperware lid. Snap, snap! I pranced into the spare room we’ve set up as his office, wine glass (more like a goblet) in hand. He has adapted to my moods, remaining calm, waiting for more information. I should have known it was a high that would be replaced soon enough with lows. Nostalgia. Back pain. White fragility. The world offers up many sorrows. But when I feel good it’s like I have always felt this way, the past rewritten hastily, a post-it note in thick marker declaring everything is okay. A heart drawn at an angle, coloured in. Joy is infectious isn’t it. Isn’t it?




From The Malahat Review's summer issue #219