I can count the times it happened on one hand.
All before I was eleven or twelve.
We’d be sitting at the dinner table.
My father would be speaking.
When I looked at him, a voice in my head said
This is your dad, he is speaking, you are on earth, this is your life
& when my mother spoke & I turned to her, the same.
Just before it began, the voice hurtled me
into space. As it spoke I traveled back to the table
in slow motion at the speed of light—
like the moment you swear you’ve stopped
moving in an elevator or on a plane save for
that little buoyant pocket in your core. Terror
& wonder in equal proportions canceled me,
a witness with no plot. Until the voice—faster,
repeating, sounding more like mine—signaled
return. The last time it happened, I wanted
to delay my arrival & somehow I could.
For seconds I hovered above my checkered seat,
my parents’ words sharpening those charred beams
along the load-bearing wall.
Will Frazier is a poet from Virginia. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.
Image: Detail from Ono Tadashige, Kita no umi, 1974, color woodcut. From the Rijksmuseum.