Peter Grandbois is the author of seven previous books including, most recently, The Girl on the Swing (Wordcraft of Oregon, 2015). His poems, stories, and essays have previously appeared in such journals as The Kenyon Review, The Gettysburg Review, Boulevard, Prairie Schooner, The Denver Quarterly, New Orleans Review, Zone 3, and DIAGRAM, among many others, and have been shortlisted for both Best American Essays and the Pushcart Prize. His plays have been performed in St. Louis, Columbus, Los Angeles, and New York. He is senior editor at Boulevard magazine and teaches at Denison University in Ohio.
Hollowness seeps in when I wake. I throw back the covers and grab the bedside table to keep from floating away. Something about density I’ve never understood. It helps to put on a heavy sweater, corduroys and thick-soled shoes. My steps are not my own and no amount of cereal seems to fill me.
The slightest wind.
The longing to comb her wet hair.
A mistake with a hammer.
Anything can lead to problems. So it’s with relief that I climb into bed. Sometimes I don’t even wait for night. I simply tell my wife and children that a woodpecker landed on my nose while I lunched on a park bench, pecked a hole in my head, and now I’m hollow. They seem to understand. My ten-year-old son even thinks it’s cool. He asked if parts of me can break off and be eaten like those chocolate Easter bunnies.
I close my eyes and pour back in like a prayer. Dreaming, I’m as eternal as stone.