Before I Lay Me Down to Sleep
And I cannot teach you the prayer of the seas and the forests and the mountains.—The Prophet by Khalil Gibran
When the auk shows up at my door it is already too late. I have cried all the tears that I have and even a few extra forced up from my spleen. I would rather have a puffin, somewhat ungainly on the porch and humorous. A puffin with a mouthful of little, silver, fish to make me giggle. Still, an auk, usually at sea, is something to behold well turned-out in black and white. I am a reluctant genealogist slipping through family lines. They believe me to be extinct. A recent event to which I was party, wearing my tatted-lace veil at the funeral and waving away the coffee and cake at the wake. Something I had never done before which added to the proof of my demise. Now it is me and the auk which is not great. When there is only one of anything it is hard to procreate unless I want an exact copy of myself. That seems too cruel. I kneel at my bedside every night and pray as if I believe that there might be a god and that god might grant me some kind of serenity or at the least amnesia. Turns out I am just whispering in the dark.
—Lisa J. Cihlar