Life is a short thing, the flies that buzz around my room will stop their droning gaggle in a day a day or two, anyway. The large gourd-shaped hulk who bellows beneath the depths has over 200 years, that lucky thing and when my son tugs at my pant leg, and asks me why my hair starts to look like the feeling of a key ring, silver and weighed down by things, I read him a book about whales and hope that he will not ask how many whale lives I have left but how many fly lives I have. Life is a long thing, when starfish lose limbs, it’s usually just because they’re a little warm, it’s their small discarded sweater but when I get a little warm at night, my body shoved by invisible currents, I sit in the cavity of the couch eyes falling like stars from when I used to stay up all night and it was an act of joy, instead of a lonely, slow-moving river that just pushes me towards when that orange strobe rises above the water line, when my eyes clench from its brilliance and the bones in my body have not fallen off like the starfish, they have never felt so weighted. Life is a short thing, because the macaroni penguins, they mate for life, and my son and I were watching discovery channel discuss Antarctica, a place that feels like running out of time, at the end of the world, something like me, and he turned to me and said that he wished I were a penguin so I didn’t have to be alone. I said I’m not alone, I have you. And he smiled the same smile from when he visited his first zoo and said “I have you too” and the narrator talked on.
to grow old
by Aditi Limaye