Sunday, July 24, 2005

red wagon

Tomorrow is my six months birthday, six months until I am new. Years ago, my mother was exactly my age, already pregnant with me, wearing the long leather coat I wear in the picture I found yesterday; I was twenty then.

Did she name me Amber knowing my hair would be golden brown, knowing I would walk in front of trains? I would drive all night. I would save you if I could, the way I saved the head of a snowman as a child all through the spring and fall in the deep basement freezer, believing his body could be reborn.

In my book, I am a character. I am the dead mother. I didn't mean to be, but I am: memory, ghost. I didn't mean to be, but I am: wild, lost.

I was thinking, should I get a tattoo or pierce my ears? I must change my body somehow. I must mark this. Then I see him, the little boy sitting beside his mother, his mother ten years younger than me, smoking, talking on a phone as they balance on the astroturf porch. He turns around to watch me pass. She is not looking. I wave to him, and after much, much consideration, he waves back. Two hours later they are still there.

The red wagon is full of dirty water and a cigarette box. The sidewalk chalk is smudged with shoes.

I have mosquito bites and no money. I have big dreams, big fear, and a small mouth. Did she know I would grow into this, who would say things that were not said to me, who would mean it? I know this is true.

I am the person I have been waiting for. All these years it was in me. I will gather you into my arms, though they are bitten. I will save all I can, though I am also in need of saving. Stay alive and I will find you. I will come back. I will keep my promise.