There is no moon tonight, yet the sky is not quite black. It is the grey of ambient light, filtered through clouds and exhaust. It is muddy orange. There is a sense of quiet in the complete blackness where the moon is, something more than just dark, that makes me ache again for somewhere far away from city. The night sky swallows you whole. It reminds you of nothing, allows the stars to be center stage, rather than the back-up band. They say the new moon banishes things. Pray for weight loss! Rid yourself of the philanderer! Quit the job! Banish the blemishes! Exorcise negative thoughts! Quiet the mind! Turn of the refrain. Stop talking endlessly to yourself about nothing important.
My uterus grips the insides of me. The pain stretches into my back, and out through my front. It is ovary, I'm sure of it. Or perhaps something overly...uh, diseased. An appendix four inches too low. It radiates into my thighs, my calves, my muscles are strong, but I cannot push the ache out. This process is so physical. Blood dripping out of me for weeks creating an ombre of pinks, reds, maroons, browns if I allow it. I lose tissue and energy and strength. Sometimes I think about this hippie women's herbal book I have that says to bleed into your garden each month to nourish your plants. I imagine squatting in my blueberries, waving at the neighbor. "Just bleeding over here, thank you very much." I flush my blood, feed it to nothing. It spreads tiny atoms of DNA to every part of the ocean. She is in everything now.
I never saw the baby. Every drop out of me, part of her, I imagine. I am ready to be done with this physical part, like I cut something out, and have to paste myself back into what I think I should be. My friend keeps bringing me potato soup. "It is vegan," she tells me. Add salt. Potatoes are good for the blood." The soup is delicious. She is mothering me, and I like to be mothered.
I took iron for a few days. It moves in me like rocks, in that, there is no movement. No matter how hard I push, I suffer. I quit the iron. I'd rather be anemic. I am exhausted by normal life, tired mentally from pretending that this is nothing that big. "It's all small stuff," someone said to me recently. "Don't sweat the small stuff. But how are you with God? That is the bigger question. Are you turning your will over to Him?"
"We are cool," I say. And we are. I don't have any problem with God. I don't think God has anything to do with death, honestly. Death is a corporeal thing. Hearts stop, lungs block, organs shut down. There is a messiness to death that is very un-Godlike. It is all human. It is all small stuff, I guess, when you compare it to the one all-powerful, omniscient, omnibenevolent God of casual conversation. But I am all-weak, ignorant, and vulnerably human. I want to toil over small things right now. If an almost-daughter is a small thing, then I want to sweat her. I want to weep for her almost-being.
I don't cry. I feel stuck, like an engine turning over, like a cloud in front of the hole where the moon should be. When I am depressed, I like to think of God as a buxom woman with large hips singing work songs in the garden. A frosty Mason jar of herbs and fruit that makes your brain quiet and loving. She's an ancient goddess from a Mediterranean island with low lying teats and a penchant for donkey-hung totems. She wears long skirts and gives birth in a hole filled with straw. She births the Stars, the Trees, Love, the Harvest, the platypus with its egg-laying mammalian faults. Some of her children die. (Think dodo.) She always coos and sings nonsense songs in Spanish to me, her smile as warm and inviting as the first full moon of Spring, filling me up with flowers and dew.
In the night, I think of morning. The children never know what they want for breakfast. It has been driving me crazy. I feel like a claw game every morning. Bagel? English Muffin? Cereal? Cheese? Yogurt and granola? I find this so exhausting. I vowed never to do this before I had children, and here I am, in the middle of the night, thinking about breakfast. Since the miscarriage, I have no patience for it. Beside the pain, it is the only discernible difference in my personality. I start off the day tired already from that one chore. Everyone knows what they don't want, but no one articulates what they are passionate for, what hungers in them. It seems more like an existential problem rather than a food one.
I decide that tomorrow, I will scuttle over to the fridge, legs bent in a kind of goddess birthing pose. I will draw a spiral on my belly and let my breasts hang over my deflated stomach. I'll reach up to the sky and double check my pose with the statue on our altar. I will grunt: "Mother. Goddess. Want. Berries." Because goddesses speak English-Neanderthal. Once I have fed the goddess, I will drink two cups of coffee in the garden, bleeding into the plants and ask myself questions about all the things I take for granted. Is this healing now? Is that healing in my life right now? Is this good for my soul? Is that good for my family? Is this good for mankind? Is that bringing me light or darkness?
The children will eat when they are ready. They will ask me for toast with butter and cheese. Peppermint tea with milk. And I will mess their hair and sing nonsense songs in Spanish.
The night feels dark without a moon. Solemn and ancient, even though it is only four hours old. I feel lost. How long has she been gone? Either of them? Both of them? I drift in and out of sleep, in and out of pain. I search for quiet in my mind. It comes in wanting berries and knowing it. It comes in a dancing candle, and a moment in the dark muddy orange of a New Jersey new moon. It comes from knowing what you want for breakfast. It comes from hours in front of a project without checking my phone. It comes. Slowly. Steadily. But it comes.