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.


Scientists have discovered the fossilized brain tissue of a dinosaur.


The fossil is 133 million years old.


I close my eyes, just for a second.

Forward and back.

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


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

Like a metronome.

Then who are we?


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.


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.



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