Like water, the brothers uncles cousins now slip through my fingers. And where they fall is someplace dark.
I cannot quite see to the bottom of them. I try to peer through all of their existence at my feet, to grasp at understanding, but my gazing comes up dry. To really understand them, the dead men pooling at my feet, I must dive in. I must enter.
This I do in phases. In meditations from the bath I close my eyes and step into their hurt. I am immediately there. It is murky, frigid, even, to the touch. Like water in the gutter, gray and cold and streaming with stray pieces of the landscape.
My therapist tells me to be cautious of my meditations in the water, because the water brings me someplace dark. She warns me, knowing it is in the water that the traumas lie. But there are also answers there, and so I am eager to step forth.
The place is always the same. A stone and flooded cavern, void of light. The only sound the water lapping up against the siding of the bedrock. Deceptively gentle. Alarmingly calm.
I rest my hand against the wall, and guide myself down steps into the brackish pool. Easing myself in, I press my toes against the bottom step push out submerge and enter in the belly of the curse.
Here is where I find them, all the fallen men now swimming inside air. They are there, their wordless, waif-like forms and how they hover all around me. The essence of them. I recognize them in the smells and feelings carried on the rippled surface of the pool. I wait, unsure of what I’m looking for.
But there is something wicked in these waters. Something slithering and snakelike. I can see the dull reflection of its rolling scales ease up and back beneath the surface. I can hear the lapping of its gliding through the tides, feel its current brushing up against my legs.
It is not safe here, in this dark place that they’ve gone. And every lapsing moment brings me closer to the knowledge that I, for now, do not belong.
Something haunts us. Something I am not prepared to fight.
Arm yourself, my child. The waters here are deep.