We Are The Good Guys

-orginally published in Crooked Lullabies, 3/24/13.-to my son, Uri.

We are the good guys.

We are the merrymakers dancing among the fires of the apocalypse. We are the heretics screeching from the bell tower above the smoke plumes. We are the carousers laughing while the pharaoh chokes.

I’d spent nine months imagining my reaction the moment you counted as a tick on the census. I thought I’d smile with my lips sealed and nod my head once; “Damn right that’s my boy!” Instead, I gasped and covered my mouth. My neurons ceased firing for 13 seconds. Tears swelled. I fought them. Your mother and your grandfather and the doctor and the nurses would’ve witnessed your father’s breakdown. I fought harder. The tears in my eye creases evaporated; they went up instead of down. I won.

We are the stargazers gawking at the beautiful abyss of godless chaos above. We are the soulless not waiting for the light but sparking our own flame. We are the missionaries en route to an immaculate wasteland.

I slept on the hospital couch that night (after swallowing two Benadryl pills). The nurse brought you in the room around two thirty in the morning. I know because I awoke resting on my right shoulder, facing the door and the wall clock. You were crying. I hadn’t heard you cry yet. My own tears amassed again. I flipped to my left shoulder. This time I surrendered unconditionally to the emotion, in the darkness and facing away.

We are the nomads happily adding sand to the desert and spitting on the mirages. We are the wanderers burning the map. We are the travelers puncturing our tires and raising our fists in celebration—we have arrived.

You stopped crying when the nurse handed you to mom. Silence overcame our spec of the world as though a ghost had walked through. But this was not the ghost of a departed, rather one of a life yet to be lived.

We are the good guys.


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