THE NUMBING DRIFT
—Benjamin D. Carson
I wonder what he was thinking the last time he dove into that river
headfirst like a bombardier, a kamikaze, a spirit wind, the tip of a
spear. Launching himself off of that boat, the sun hot on his wide
and strong shoulders, was it joy he felt? As he sailed through the air,
arms stiff to his sides, was he smiling, anticipating the coolness of the
water, the tug of the current, as it pulled at his chest, enveloped his
thighs and feet?
What was it he thought as his head hit the sandbar hiding just beneath the silt and the waves, as his neck twisted obscenely, backward and up, his distorted smile now buried under the weight of his body as it drove his head down and down and down and into the grit? What must it be like, that first moment of unfeeling?
How light, I wonder, must be this numbing drift, the sense that life is just barely the weight of thought, a head perched on a mountain of flesh, floating unmoved, hearing, seeing, and knowing that what nourishes it now comes through the tip of a straw.