"CELEBRATION" © 2007 TERESA DUNWELL
Riding the Coma
In the beginning you are a rock hurtling through space, a comet, perhaps, with a bright shiny tail drawn by the gravity of sound, crackling noises and half-finished words, static on the radio, only you don’t remember what a radio is or how it works and you sense this is a problem or at least a troubling lapse connecting the buzzing words to this flying business, symbols that make no sense, yet the sound washes over what you are, were, might have been and you, the dreamer, dream it out, while a soft, faraway voice keeps calling a name, vaguely familiar, always with the question—can you hear me, if you hear me raise a finger—which means, of course, there’s a finger to raise, so you concentrate and visualize a finger crooked in space, a single digit of explanation, straining, standing at attention, a universal salute, and it seems to work because the noise crackles, heaves, and you wonder if the sound and this endless ride is death reeling you in, a cosmic fly fisher, so you thrash with feeble outrage still yearning for a glimpse of the Great Beyond, that nether world for which you’ve created stories, prayers, whistling-in-the-dark pranks and jokes; yet when the light enters, you have a moment of breathless fear, then settle down while you imagine an insect transformed from slug to fine-winged creature and you have one of those “ahhh” moments, consider it a shape-shifting event, a turning into, a folding over where ordinary flesh morphs into the celestial, an entity of shimmering lightness, and you strain to the hear the heavenly music convinced it’s all you ever longed for, but then just beyond the glare, the words:
Oh, Jesus. Oh, Christ Almighty. He’s waking.
That’s when you know. There are no wings, no hovering haloes. The weight of who you are, who you’ve always been returns in a massive throb—a rush of light and sound, a thickness in the throat, and then a brackish taste and the odor of disinfectant. Senses kill the dream. Senses nail the flesh upon the world and rouse the weary dreamer.
Still, in the space between waking and dreaming, in the moment between heartbeats and blinks and ragged breaths, you remember the heady ride on a jagged rock where you were afire, ablaze in a white-hot coma, a misspent neuron spinning, hurtling, ricocheting through the infinite Mind of God.
Copyright © 2007 by Margaret A. Frey
"Riding the Coma" originally appeared in Mindprints, A Literary Journal, Vol. 5, 2005