If everyone was standing outside my door, there would be people six deep between my door and the brick wall that separates the apartment complex from the parking lots and roads of this suddenly populated land. More than seven billion would be packed from my door to this city and this state and the surrounding states, but not the rest of the United States. Not the rest of the world. Only a few centimeters between their backs, shoulders, noses, and bellies, everyone would be standing even if they could not stand: little babies on two legs, the comatose with eyes hiding brains, the limb challenged on stumps or less and held up like marionettes if necessary, hand walkers and acrobats and attention seekers forced to give up their abled antics.
I would open my door and immediately feel the heat. I would smell them. Terrains of heads climbing up the foothills to the mountains, full of brains that might only regulate breathing or might compose symphonies. All of them stilled, except for collective adjustments localized like rain drops splattering among them. Two occasions would swell and contract the gathering like a heart with blood. The first would be the pushing out of the dead to the outer border of the humans and the people would take a step in any direction that required filling. The second would be the shifting required to accommodate the new babies. I hope they survive. I hope they grow.
I would not see them all. I could stand up on my toes and I could pull myself up by my fingers, and the people and the walls and the terrain and the distances and the globe would hide most from my view. I would see them before me and up on the hills I can see over the wall to the north and west, and the mountains that claim the horizon.
If I saw a family member or a friend it would be like winning several lotteries; there would be no one I recognized. Brown would be the common color and I would notice how white my skin was turning red in the zenith sun. I would start to say that I am Hispanic and German and Dutch and then the list would already be too long long before I said Native American. They wouldn’t know my language, though, not all of them, and I would shut my mouth in embarrassment. They would have colonized my locality. They would have stabbed me only with their eyes.
In my guts my attractions and my repulsions would whip me and the people would seem to be objects. The man I have seen walking on the streets near where I work at the university without much of his face, and what remains folding in so that he seems fisted no matter if his heart is light, would be standing where I could see him; those lottery numbers won. The blackest man I’ve ever seen would be here, too, and he would be more beautiful than not half of these other men. I would not be naked nor hard and I would seem to be master to their slave. My stomach would ache. My swallowing would hurt. It’s ugly when you think like that.
How they would be fed, watered, treated. Where their expulsions would go. Disease outcomes with vectors so collapsed. Yet these would be the first moments and would not require answers. Outside the border of skin and clothes would be their abandoned lives to which insects and other displaced animals would already be creeping. There would be no airplanes in the skies or forgotten coffee pots burning down buildings. There would be no technology except the humming and buzzing that wouldn’t need attention right then.
I would start shaking and I would imagine stepping into them. I would have to slide past the disciples here and then climb over the wall because they blocked the gate. I would have to make my way slowly, watch my step even though a minute shuffle would be keeping them from touching me.
Instead, though, I would take two steps backward and shut my door. I would drop to the floor, the only horizontal human, the carpeted Earth to my burden. The silent space of my studio apartment above me, I would listen for the silent filled up space outside my door where one hand would be near to knocking.
I think my life should be a cartoon. I would always have a happy ending.
Reflections on a duck pond
Bright fake mornings in this half-home. This city always feels peaceful. Perhaps because it was never fully mine?
Preparando para la tercera adventura.
To be strong enough, to be brave enough, to be kind.
Wider view of mountain snow over Tucson
Mountain snow over Tucson
Why I go tonight for this kiss