Teaching my Son Magic

by Elizabeth Kirschner

I am cooking, cutting potatoes for kale soup as my little family loves kale soup. I am cutting potatoes for kale soup, the peels slick, wet autumn leaves, their meat white as cornstarch when, suddenly, the knife flies out of my hand. It flies out of my hand while a strange wizardry fires up my arm to storm my body. Quick as breath, I go down onto the floor, am a kite, wind-knocked and sky-shattered. Wind-knocked and sky-shattered, I go down and here I am, limbs flailing in a full-blown seizure. Limbs flailing, I’m half on, half off the orange rug with night animals on it–black owls, black cats, black crows.

Half on, half off, the orange rug with the night animals on it–black owls, black cats, black crows, I’m in a full-blown seizure. God scurries like a mouse into a cellar hole, becomes its teeth chattering in darkness. God is the mouse’s teeth chattering in darkness and God is the minuscule skull my young son found in the garden, then capped onto his finger–a finger puppet! God is a finger puppet and I, limbs flailing, a marionette jerked by invisible strings.

A marionette jerked by invisible strings, I stare up into the skylight as though it were a spyglass. Perfect! I think, It’s time to play I Spy! I want to shout, I spy black owls! I want to shout, I spy black cats! to shout, I spy black crows in their priestly robes, but I can’t because I can’t speak when in a seizure, let alone shout. And so, I spy nothingness, the abyss and the loneliness that saddens molecules, but I do not spy God, no, I never spy God when in a full-blown seizure.

But I do I spy, yes, I spy my young son, not God, sitting down beside me. Six or seven, he is sitting cross-legged alongside where I flail, half on, half off the orange rug with the night animals on it. Six or seven, my young son feeds me my meds like teeny-weeny communion tablets. My young son, not God, feeds me teeny-weeny communion tablets, then opens a book to read out loud until the meds kick in.

What he starts to read out loud are not fairytales, no, they are not fairytales full of magical enchantment, they are almost fairytales and fairly stupid ones at that. Surely my illness is not a fairytale, nor an almost fairytale, but it is a fairly stupid one. Surely, my stupid fairytale isn’t full of magical enchantment, but bewitchment.

My young son reads, The hen is screaming. My young son reads, The hen is screaming, “Who will plant the wheat?” Clearly, I’m not screaming because I can’t speak let alone scream, nor can I plant the wheat. My young son keeps reading: now the hen is running to Chickin Lickin, screaming, The sky is falling!. Now she runs to Ducky Lucky, then Goosy Lucy, screaming, The sky is falling! We must tell the President!

Not screaming, nor speaking, I am spying the skylight and what I spy is that the sky is not falling, the sky is definitely not falling in my fairly stupid fairytale, so there is no need to tell the President. I, however, have fallen into a seizure. Not only have I fallen now, I have fallen many times before and will fall many times again, yet I do not need to tell the President. I do need to tell God, but I can’t speak and only hear his mice teeth chattering in darkness. Did I scare God when I went into seizure? Is that why he scurried into a cellar hole? If I did, I understand, because I scare myself, too, but why didn’t I scare my young son?

Maybe I didn’t scare my young son because he is the narrator in this fairly stupid tale. As the narrator in this fairly stupid fairytale, he says, “Yo, just come,” to the frantic hen. Where just where, yo, does he want the frantic hen to go? I want to go with the frantic hen, but how can I when I’m seizing. Yo, I want to ask, Just where, yo, do you want us to come? but I can’t.

I want to go, yo, with the frantic hen to where, yo, my young son wants her to because that might be the kingdom come. I want to go to the kingdom come because, yo, the littlest angel might be there to cure me, the frantic hen, of my illness. If, yo, the littlest angel cured me, the frantic hen, in the kingdom come then our fairly stupid tale would have a fairly happy ending.

But, before we get to kingdom come where, yo, the littlest angel could cure me, my young son stops reading the fairly stupid fairytale. He stops reading the fairly stupid tale to lay his hands upon me. When he lays his hands upon me, he is more patient than sorrow and I praise him. I praise him and I praise his hands, the palms plump as small buttocks. I praise his hands and their sweat, light as the drizzle glazing the skylight.

The light drizzle glazing the skylight is a hard sugar. My seizing body is hard sugar, too, but when my young son lays his hands upon me, the hard sugar starts to melt. When the hard sugar starts to melt my toes go quiet, like ten small peninsulas. My toes, like ten small peninsulas go quiet, are bathed in dawns smelling of basements and plums.

Smelling of basements and plums, my son’s hands multiply, like loaves and fishes. Like loaves and fishes, they are everywhere on my body. Everywhere on my body, my legs, go quiet, then my back and neck. Even my heart goes quiet. My heart goes quiet, is a genie back in its bottle. When my heart goes quiet and is a genie back in its bottle, the bewitchment ends. When the bewitchment ends, so does the fairly stupid tale and then, the magical enchantment can begin.

When the magical enchantment begins, I get up off the floor, brush crumbs and fish scales off my apron and bow slightly before my young son. I praise him, then go back to slicing potatoes for the kale soup. Yes, I praise him and I praise the kale soup, but I do not praise God. I praise his likeness, here in my kitchen, my kingdom come, happy that this kingdom come has a fairly happy ending.

_____

ShareShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+