On Borders, White Space, and Saying the Unsayable

Michael and I are away from our home in the desert, traveling to Yosemite. It still amazes us how one morning in airports can shift what’s in our windows from sand and sagebrush to this asphalted moving road, its flashes of pine and fir, the lines of white and yellow. In Oakhurst, we’re driving fast, laughing and singing when a herd of deer gallop wildly, softly across the road before the truck in front of us hits one. We pull over, rush to his slumped body. The act of his breathing ripples his fur, his eye large and wet, his horns just nubs. Each breath is too slow, too measurable. There is only a small patch of blood under his left shoulder, but he is dying. Afraid of his kick, I only touch him after, say sorry as I stroke him. In the smallest space in which death cleaves from life , the sound of any word stings. * In his poem “Autism Screening Questionnaire – Speech and Language Delay,” Oliver de la Paz writes, watching a son speak: “a want. We make symbols of his noise [ . . . ] we can watch him tremble / for […]

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