Sandra Benedetto: The Existential Hours

We rock.

It’s 3 a.m.

Forward and back.

I read a news magazine to stay awake while she sleeps in my arm.

Soothing.

Scientists have discovered the fossilized brain tissue of a dinosaur.

Rhythmic.

The fossil is 133 million years old.

Steady.

I close my eyes, just for a second.

Forward and back.

133 million years is too much to comprehend, and yet cosmically negligible.

Automatic.

Those great beasts are so long in the void as to be nearly mythical.

Like a metronome.

Then who are we?

Even.

I open my eyes and look down at her, days old.

Forward and back.

What were we before this and what will we be after this?

White noise creaking.

I wish for a blanket of faith to wrap around the idea of infinite, bottomless flailing.

Constant.

I focus on my daughter with new eyes, needing to eternalize her in my memory.

Downy hair on her upper lip,

a spidery vein in her dumpling cheek,

the curve of her father’s ear,

fluttering eyelids,

her mouth shaping thoughts I can’t even guess at.

I become aware of my toes pushing against the floor.

Does she dream of whence she came?

Forward and back.

We rock.

mother_and_child_2

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