Can’t Let Go

Tonight, my son’s wrist is wrapped in an ace bandage, sore from the homecoming game where it was bent back too far during a tackle. I wasn’t there; the days I can sit in the sleeting rain for hours under a blue tarp are getting few like daylight dwindling during fall, but I iced it for him when he got home. Our friend is coming today, the one who’d been electrocuted by accident. He has holes where the power escaped: through his chest, under his knee caps. His palms have a flat sheen like someone tried to wipe away his life lines with acid. Over dinner, we talk about wounds, the sorry pleasure of them, the story of scars. My son asks the same question in different incarnations. My friend is happy to answer. I stand behind them, my hands clamped on the rail of my son’s chair. My friend says, It doesn’t take much, about ten milliamps for an adult, and the muscles cramp. You can’t let go no matter how hard you try; you can’t let go no matter how badly you want to.

Laura McCullough | Mudlark No. 32
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