I sit in a middle school auditorium to watch the year-end Montessori performance of The Wizard of Oz. The lion wanted courage (“Roar!”), the tin man wanted a heart (“Is it a kind heart?), the scarecrow wanted a brain (“If I only had a…), Dorothy just wanted to go to Kansas (“There’s no place like…”), and I – after twelve hours of work (half of which were on my feet), want to swim in the river.

The drive home is an illusion, like sailing across a sea of humidity. The fog is thick and hot, like the memory of a lover. It promises the falsity of safety, hugging beds of pastures nestled in the valley as if they were children. White heifers reflect the glare of my headlights like ghosts. Bunny butts dark fearfully into triangle beams of light, breathlessly fleeing chards of mica that glow like one thousand screaming eyes in the gravel road. This is beauty, even at forty miles per hour and hairpin turns that make me grip the wheel like a racecar driver. I could eat it all and never be hungry again, go sleepless for forty days and grow ever more wakeful, take shelter in the impermanence of it all and make a home there.

The sweet silence of sleep comes quickly after I break the surface of the glassy river. Moonlight smiles across its black surface like a crooked smile, coercing me under. There can be no fear of black water when the night itself is black already.

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