Saturday, April 7, 2007

Bone-breaking breath, and the memory that supersedes it

I have fractured my left rib 6 twice, both times from coughing too hard. It is because of my asthma. Miasma. My terrible friend who's been with me always, who renders shame upon me, unable to speak, to breathe, to be comfortably in the company of others. It is because of my asthma that I have any direct knowledge or experience of a broken bone in my body. It was a bone that I did not feel break, however; was not even certain the first time that that was what explained the stabbing pain in my left side each time I breathed my already painful breaths. The second time, of course, I remembered and I knew.

But it was not a gnashing, splintering, snapping break, a false memory of which I carry deep within myself, much like my memories of riding in an open helicopter and walking on wooden stilts, memories that are not my own, in this case a bone breaking and crumbling into a thousand tiny, powdery pieces, puncturing tender sinews and skin, painful to my ears somehow, like wet bricks.

And there is something of myself there, in that perception of a memory, in that bone that did not break, those bones that do not break, but I don't know what it is.