As I know now, choosing same-day delivery of a single book in a dog-sized box full of plastic.
As I know now, still shoveling the food my crying self didn’t have into today’s maw, the nerves in my feet and hands afire.
Trampwaddling through the meat section, I nose and nudge the shiny plastic packages of flesh, nauseated at knowing the social intelligence of the cow, the clever friendships of the pig, the sour smell of block and blade.
Not nauseated enough.
I indulge every appetite until I’m sick and then do it again.
A few more minutes of driving and I’ll park, ascend the stairs around a museum of glass silvering in the new sun, boats rising and falling on the water behind me.
I’ll cross a short bridge, the faint sweet stink of manure from the slow-moving train, the acrid exhaust of cars, the reek each steelcased animal riding tire or track.
I’ll descend, framed by the redbrick historic train station on one side, the similarly clad courthouse on the other.
For a moment, at the edge of the busy crossing, I’ll forget about my coffee order, wondering if I should wait for the robotic voice telling me it’s safe to walk.
I’ll teeter on the edge of an answer to how this can be, to what I can do.
I’ll hear the faint peal, the summons, the answer in my mother’s voice, her final rictus, her nothing now.
I’ll carry the dead weight of myself, the skin sack I swing in place of my convictions, no stoplights to slow me down.