By: Phillip Wenturine
“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” – Abraham Lincoln
Stagnant, trapped, immobile.
Imagine clawing your way out of your body.
A spirit cemented inside a physical habitat—helpless to the mercy of bodily transportation.
Channel your natural energies. Crawl all the way out. Don’t lose focus on yourself, your earthly skeleton. Mind over body.
Now, you’re free. From yourself.
Imagine backing away from your being. A stereotypical figure. Picture yourself from afar, from above, watching your spirit. A shiny mist, floating over you, like an exhale.
You are watching you watching yourself, with your eyes closed. Imaging all of this.
Imagine a camera.
Now, be the camera. See yourself from the lens from high and away. You are still watching yourself, squinting through the fisheye glass. Tunnel vision.
Fixate on something specific. The recess of your earlobe. The skin, made up of a million particles smaller than the smallest particle known to man.
Zoom further out. Further. You’re distancing from your body and receding upward, and away.
You see your roof, the weathered shingles covered in grit.
You see the city, the Xeroxed neighborhoods with the matching yard plans, the model citizens, the stepford children.
Continents pan into focus: One, two…seven.
The Galapagos and the Strait of Gibraltar; the Black sea, impenetrable to skin; the country shaped like a boot; the Garden of Eden.
You defy gravity. Soar backwards, higher.
A chill ripples through you as you traverse the ozone. Transparent. Like you.
You spot the tip of Orion’s belt.
Continue zooming out. Past Saturn’s rings. Micrometers of rocks, of ice. Perfectly balanced disks orbiting the sun, floating on the absence of anything. More.
You see blackness. Rather, you are blackness.
You see nothing.
Can nothing be seen?
For a moment, time stands still.
Far, in the back of your head. A memory—or, a dream? It’s hard to get to. Like trudging against thick molasses. But you find it.
And then, your spirit exhales, and a droplet of moisture plummets.
Through the gap of Saturn’s rings, it passes Orion, and parachutes downward. Through the ozone, toward the oceans. Life’s layers reflect; her light shimmers. It shines back upward, like a kaleidoscope. And plop, on the weathered roof.
Right above yourself.
And everything that goes up, must come down.
Darkness fades to technicolor as you descend.
Throw away the camera.
Imagine a golden, plastic cylinder. Inside, filled with tiny shards of neon glass that point inside your mind. Go through it. Cock your head. Adjust the focus. The colors are everywhere, and there’s no sense to them, and it doesn’t matter. Zoom in. The lens, a guide.
Twist the narrow tube. Shift perspectives. Subject the subjective.
You see a surface like the moon. Craters. A floor of compressed, solidified lava stone. The speed of light refracts on fragments of mirrored glass. Zoom in. Past the absence of gravity. Back the way you came.
You recede though the ozone, transparent no more. The cotton candy of the sky, the sunrise’s decadent decorations.
Striations, swirls, swivels.
You pass between Mother Nature’s ice crystals. Cirrus, cumulus, then stratus.
You see the aqueous areas covering three-fourths of the Earth. The glossy turquoise; the briny solution. A dark spot—a sea turtle taking a break.
Spy what’s beneath. The low rumbled song of Beluga birthing. A new starfish limb’s pointed rise with the tiny beat of suckers on a painted desert of coral. The yearning trumpet of a bottlenose searching the deep for its lover.
Zoom out. Pan left.
A boy in Namibia dying from AIDS. His parents, skin and bones, sit idly by watching him deteriorate. Helpless.
Pan left. Zoom in.
A reflection in the water. Your face, but not yourself.
Pan left once more. Zoom in. Further.
A patch of green. A scarlet critter caresses the top of the blade—good luck.
A flock of birds frolics around you.
Violet tufts splotch their underbellies; their tails elongated. Sunflower seeds pop and crack under their beaks.
Their ululations and whistles move through you, while you watch yourself with your eyes closed. Imagining all of this.
The sun gleams on the back of your neck.
Phillip Wenturine is a middle school English teacher, where his job description is to change the world, but the reality is fighting the endless struggle to end comma splices. He has published other essays in Aurora magazine, The Talon Review, Intrinsick Magazine, and Potluck Magazine. He completed his MFA from Eastern Kentucky University where he attended residencies in Lisbon, Portugal, and he just received a Fulbright Scholarship to go back and teach. Phillip enjoys traveling to foreign countries, consuming a large goblet of sangria on the weekends, and the color orange makes him smile. Read more on PhillipWrites.com.