For me, working is sitting here. They come to me with questions. I don’t give answers. I just help with the right way to ask.
What’s the word, they say for feeling like you’re about to step off a cliff, and you don’t but you keep feeling and you keep stepping? Heart, I say. We learned that in school, first day. I can do this in my sleep.
He says, what’s the word for when you have an incurable disease and you know you’re giving it to everyone you talk to but you talk to them anyway? Playing, I say. Or, when you get older, call it work. But keep calling it play.
Next comes a child. Too young to ask, too young to use any of my words. In my lap she deposits a dog, big-eyed, its tongue shaking full of hope. Sacrifice, I say. I pronounce it again, more slowly, for the child to remember, to one day understand.
Next is you. You stand, hesitate, unsure what to say, unsure what even the recipient should be of your speech. I hesitate too. Not to answer, but to let myself succumb. Days pass. Eons. We evolve into new generations, we turn into ourselves. Still I cannot bring myself to utter your word. Your head sinks to my lap. I feel the tremble of crying. No, I say. Your word, the word you’ve been looking for, the word you’ve never been able to say is
_______ Photo from Light and Lightning, Illuminating Engineering Society Association of Public Lighting Engineers (Great Britain)