Ground Waters
Yesterday, in snow's rare visit to this city, my son and I raised his first snowman. As we rolled the white boulders of its body my pregnant belly nudged up against them like kin. By evening, its body leaned to the left so impossibly I kept checking the window for its collapse. In the morning, even more so, the body straining groundward as if to grasp the carrot nose that had fallen and lay now half-covered in slush. My son, who hasn't yet been around the block with gravity, suspects nothing. I remember last summer when he skinned his shin on the sidewalk. I watched his eyes register the body's betrayal. Yet he seems not to notice the snowman's state, the degree of recline, how little it would take to return it to an idea of itself. All over the neighborhood, snowmen assume such inspired angles, splayed skywards as if in appeal to their place of origin, kneeling for their own beheadings, canted in prayer, tipsy with the song of their own slow-going. The relief obvious in their frozen hulking masses to rejoin the fluid grace of ground waters. The truth is: before I became a mother, I knew the body's longing to be lost. An untrustworthy lover bound to forsake us, I'd rather do the leaving than be left. But now, as we walk home in the dusk, my two-year old riding my hip, patting my cheeks with his mittened hands, I never want to leave this earth. Inside the baby tumbles and reels, already knowing where the body will take us, that we have no choice but to follow its lead. Alison Apotheker