Among the living, I would be pelagic, a petrel teetering on fixed wings above a fleet of sailfish. Among the petrels, I would be a fulmar, & ward off threats to my one-egg hoard with deadly projectile vomit. I am held here by a morass of trivial recollections, like Rachel pinned to her camel-hump stool by the guilty pile of gods hidden beneath it. I remember a line in a novel I read decades ago that sparked an enduring self-consciousness about the crescents of dirt under my fingernails. I remember as a kid discovering a lone raspberry cane out in the field that was dotted with dried & shrunken fruit — that feeling of sadness at a minor treasure even the sparrows overlooked. I remember hearing a Chopin piano sonata once when I was so sleep-deprived that the mere effort of listening made my chest ache. The black and the white keys were equally painful. I’ve forgotten most insults & humiliations except for those I perpetrated, which fill me with a baleful light, like an all-night laundromat. I remember, because it’s still embarassing, how old I was when I finally realized that heat lightning was nothing but ordinary lightning, too far to hear & hidden by the curve of the earth.