Silent Mind

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A silent mind is not the same as a calm mind. A bigger hand has entered and scattered your thoughts and put to bed every emotion and your heart feels very cold. It’s best, then, to be pragmatic and quiet.

The morning you notice that your neighbors’ mailbox is overflowing and you know they’ve been gone, you collect it, not because you’re afraid that someone will break and enter, but because it looks wrong. And when you go to collect it and hear the neighborhood cat meowing from behind the door, you and the locksmith break and enter, not because it’s nice or kind, but because cats aren’t supposed to be trapped.

The day the dogs lick the butter and think the recycling is their personal party, you decide to take them to the dog park. Otherwise, you might leave the gate open, not because you want them to run away, but because you might forget to close it.

On the way to the park, one of the dogs throws up a mountain and two hills in the back seat. Stopping the car would be pointless so you continue on to the park, where the dogs have a grand time.

On the way home there is more throwing up and your heart softens a little when you see the miserable, slack-jawed face in the rearview mirror.

As you drive, you ask yourself, Is there anything good about winter’s approach, when the air turns cold and the trees go bare? And you answer yourself, No. Nothing. All it does is reveal the concrete.

And then later, when you think maybe you need to sleep, to go back to the place you were before all this began, one of your sons becomes powerfully hypnotized by something on the computer and forgets he’s supposed to be bathing. You come to discover water is cascading over the rim of the bathtub, into the hallway. Evidently, the overflow is clogged. Your head starts to clog with swear words in all the languages you’ve heard them used.

Right after this your mind goes silent and in that silence you’re aware of rapes and murders and all kinds of violence laughing. Gauze covers over the bleeding typhoons. Water catches fire.

Your concrete heart is heavy and uncomfortable.

Then you read something about a country you loved like no other and the concrete cracks. Suddenly you’re lonely because that country and your heart are crumbling like a soul trembling through addiction.

You look at your two hands. Do you reach down or reach up?