Surfacing by Sara Krueger

the bulbous silver heads of the cleaners
snapped back to the sky.

When they fell,
they sent along such a rumbling
like no one had ever heard.
The sound of making space
for beginnings.

We had all hoped for a sun-drunk brood.
But there is only the one I delivered.
with a skin so scaly thick,
rolling mud balls like a little dung beetle.

I shepherd him halfheartedly
as his chubby legs scoot along the tunnels,
imagining what he will find
and what he won’t
and I realize he will likely not care.

Before we sever ties,
I scoop him up to say my piece,
to impart some small insight
that will rattle around his memories.

But, I am only able to mumble
about the time I went to a drive-in with a boy
and flinched at the skull-crushing mandibles
of 50 foot tall ants.
How that boy’s hands felt
and how his lips were salty sweet with kettle corn.###

The others wrestle him from my arms then
and unlock the subway gates,
placing him gently on the tiles
so he can climb the exit stairs.

I hear the pattering of rain
coming from above
and suppose I am happy he will taste it.

The others surround me
so I can no longer see.

A chorus of voices erupting –
He will go it alone like we taught him.
He will be more than fine.
He will be able to stand the dusks and the dawns,
just think of it,
and if he’s lucky, maybe more.

Maybe he will swim in the sea
or even find a girl out there
and feel those first fires.
Yes, yes,
a girl
and he will fill her womb.

Such small consolations they name,
hanging thin in the air.

I shove through the circle
of white coats and scientists.
Push past the worn out men
and the would be baby makers too.###

I run from them all,
already longing for a day
when his feet cross the subway vents
above me
and give a glimpse
of what he has become.

Sara Krueger received her B.A. in Film from Columbia College Chicago. She has written and directed several short films and has attended residencies at the Atlantic Center for the Arts and the Ragdale Foundation. Her work has been published in Menacing Hedge. She lives in Chicago with her husband Garrett, her cat Lando Calrissian, and her dog Luna.

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