Given to me by my sister as a gift, the tiny Indian doll stands with no arms. Given to me so I can raise my hands and stop the world from coming closer. Something has been taken from here-- a day when reaching out was death. Something lost with my own hands. The doll stands three inches tall, its brown head wrapped in a red scarf. No arms, as if I could look at a body and not welcome it back. As if I knew what happened to my grip on those things. The clay doll stands on my bookshe1f. It stares out the window. It does not have any arms. I don't know why it was carved that way, don't know what it means, why the invisible palms hold everything. When I touch it with a fingertip, it leans against a book. It does not fall. When I set it back on its bare feet, I carefully use both hands.
Let Me Disappear
According to scientists, astronauts get taller when they are in space and in Albania, nodding your head means "no" and shaking your head means "yes." This says I am going to disappear and become a parrot, sitting on my perch in some strange woman's living room, ready to imitate everything she has to say to her illicit lover over the phone. Maybe I won't have to speak in the shrill voice of parrots, but simply nod and shake my head, getting it right, unlike the Albanians. St. Paul, Minnesota was originally called Pig's Eye after a man named Pierre "Pig's Eye" Parrant who set up the first business there in the mid-nineteenth century. Well, let me disappear because I live about twelve miles south of St. Paul's southern city limits and have seen the eyes of pigs quite often. Minnesota is full of them. The last one I saw was tailgating me and almost ran me off the road. Before I could switch lanes, he swerved around me and shot away. About four blocks later, he was pulled over by a cop and given a ticket. Astronaut Buzz Aldrin's mother's maiden name was "Moon." That sentence is hard to say. Of course, Buzz was the second man to step onto the moon in 1969. The first was Neil Armstrong, but he had no moons in his family, so he pleaded to Buzz on his knees, "Please, let me go second. Let me go second and every moon lover will love you forever, instead of me." This happened inside the capsule on its way down to the moon. Buzz thought, "Let me disappear," but it was too late. They hit the surface and history was on its way. I don't have a clue what this has to do with me because the only moon in my life rose over the desert skies for the first twenty-five years of my life, until I disappeared. It is why I insist on a dark, moonless night when it is the best time for all men to go away, inspect their dreams, and maybe come back taller, wiser, and able to know the difference between yes and no.