By midnight, I am a cardboard cutout, corrugated and soaked in kerosene, pockmarked with bullet holes where my own words shot right through me, deflected as they were by your steel armor. How can an 8-year-old be so stubborn?
When sleep finally takes you, I collapse into unconsciousness. At the baby's routine waking, I am the walking dead. She can still draw life from me, though, so I must still be alive. In what way?
In the morning, I walk the dog alone. Rusted metal plates the inside of my skull. The oxidation is almost complete, I tell myself. But the cool air reanimates my form, and I look down at my legs in motion: whole, inflated, two of them. They surprise me.
A great blue heron alights from the creek, wingspan impossible. I could have done better, I admit to the sky. The breeze makes my eyes water and the words taste familiar in my mouth. I will know the curve of each letter by the end of this: all the sharp edges and ragged corners pressed into my heart.
But that's how we evolve, isn't it? Better upon better, inch my inch. From slime to heron, great and blue. It only takes a couple billion years.