My Second Miracle

4861717044_bcb33854a8_b
My Second Miracle

I hate social media. I met my ex-wife on Myspace. We got married two months later, at least if my memory serves me correctly. My marriage outlasted Myspace, but it felt just as vapid. But, at least out of married I got two miracles. I never wanted a second child. I started late, and I was afraid of having a girl. The odds were against me. Because I was never particularly lucky, I knew my second would be a girl. I sat sweating nervously while they performed the ultrasound.”Congratulations, its a girl!” My ex was beaming. Fear rushed over me. I would spend the rest of my life worrying about my second miracle. Today she hugs my neck and tells me how much she loves me. Her little voice and pure smile pulverizes my fears. I still don’t like social media. It is not a place for introverts. In the morning, I brush my daughter’s hair while she tries to put the shoe on the wrong foot, taking a drink of chocolate milk, not wanting to take her eyes off of cartoons. Her brother makes her laugh, and she spews milk all over the coffee table which gets on her socks. I grimace and laugh. I am lucky indeed.

[Jasper Kerkau is writer/editor/co-founder of Sudden Denouement Literary Collective and Sudden Denouement Publishing]

Advertisements

Pool Party – Jasper Kerkau

children-listening-to-radio-in-swimming-pool-ca-1920s

At some point, towards the end of the night, I get into the pool with my clothes on. Adults are on the patio talking in hushed tones about divorce and lost nights from the early-nineties. Kids laugh and squeal, chasing each other through the house and around the pool. I hold my breath and float to the bottom, thinking of the mess I have to clean up. My life is falling apart. I gave my debit card for someone to get orange juice an hour ago. I ponder this and pull myself back up and repeat the process several times meditating on the mess, the residue from ribs, beer bottles, mistakes, dead ends. Eventually I sit on the edge of the pool and try to light a cigarette. My fingers are wet. The cigarette breaks. My f’ing luck!  My son waves with a big smile, he is elated. I love you daddy. I lean over and hug his small, wet frame in the pool. My mind races. I have to get up. I have to get up. Everything will be okay. Everything will be okay. Eventually the house empties. I put the kids to bed and darkness washes over me. There is no path. I have to start over tomorrow. I have to keep moving.

Jasper Kerkau (8/17/16)

Everything Wasn’t Enough – Jasper Kerkau

p026vlvh

Laughter echoes down long hallways, gives way to arguments and eventually more giddy children’s laughter. Plastic toys are left in my restroom, socked feet bouncing on beds, falling down and I scream from the other room. There is silence that eventually erupts again with the delight and carefree abandon of childish glee. I bury my face in my hands at my desk, waiting, waiting, always waiting for everything to change, for the laughter to eventually stop, the shadows to take over, the long unwinding of a life built on endless toil–nothingness.

The sword of Damocles looms over me. My skull anticipates the shattering strike; blood and fragments of bones mixed in a concoction of death. My fate sealed by icy hands. Alas, they have come to purge me of what is left; they have come for my children. They have come for my words; a blind witness, left with the bloody rags of silence, childless, suffering for the sins of my oppressors. Blood upon blood upon blood. They relish in feasting on my fear and devour my heart, desperately trying pull the fruit of my loins from my bosom. Am I vanquished?

Splayed on cold table, I am pulled apart slowly. My eyes affixed on the past, the mistakes left in closets among unmatched shoes and discarded summers. It all rolls off of me as the they slowly drain my life, whisked the children away, leave my words fatherless, left as an empty vessels that once held such promise. I could have been better. I could have been better. They smirk and guffaw, standing over me with forks and knives, waiting to dine on my soul, exposing their vicious appetites. Will everything be enough?

There is something inside me that is immune to their illicit desires. I hear the hymn of sacred souls, the chorus of magnificence sang from distant places, songs of hope and sorrow. Each voice carries its own unique message of personal salvation. I am not alone; they cannot destroy my sacred vision, the words sewn with the sinews of travail and perfect love into each verse. I am a writer and a father, with undying affection for my children; the words create divine tapestries which can never be wrested away from me. They will live long after I am gone.

I stand steadfast in the light, accompanied by the remnant chosen for the articulation of suffering, their special dispensation due to the ability to speak the secret language of the universe, their affliction decoded and turned into consecrated arias. The shadows will eventually flee, leaving me vindicated, left to tend to my words, nurture my children, guard them from the profane hands which seek to drag them into the dark places, strip them of their beauty and joy. There is nothing that can stand against truth, innocence, and pure love. I hear a voice in the darkness, fingers intertwined with my own: “I love you daddy.”

Jasper Kerkau (1/19/17)