All’s gonna be fine when you die, said the cow head to the man

Vision of a man who thought himself a god hanging clothes on a line, singing “all’s gonna be fine when I die.”

I heard screams from the side—

I’m sick. I didn’t ask for this.

You didn’t ask for much, said the rabbit.

Take the thought and spin it into a knot. That’s what’s going to save you.

What’s going to save you, I said, is to hide in the ground.

That’s what you think, said the rabbit.

What ever happened to the cow, I said.

He got his head removed. Now its somewhere in Omaha, listening to birds, waiting for a man by the ravine.

When it got to the ravine, it was eye-socket, jawbone only. Sheet rock covering where the eyes would be.

When you travel, finally, into the wide, you will understand the body.

I have a pain, right here, I said to the rabbit, as I crawled on my knees.

That’s symbolic, said the rabbit, for love. But you didn’t lose it. It lost you.

How many months will the vision last? I said.

He got his head removed. Shame. Now its somewhere in Omaha. Focus on the cow, said the rabbit. Not your body.

I didn’t ask for this, I said. These visions.

So write through them, said the rabbit. I burrow in the earth. It works for me.

When I get to the ravine, what will be left of me? Where did you come from?

The rabbit said,

Somewhere, a man split a rock and hid his son’s first lock of hair in between. Then he buried it. The rains came that night. It was a full moon. What you don’t know, will save you. When he buried the rock, his son appeared to him in a dream, said:

I am the prophet that never was. I will work through you, your transgressions.

The man became an addict. Left his wife and traveled to Omaha. When his car broke down, he wept by the ravine. The cow head stopped its journey to talk to the man.

How many months will this pain last? Asked the man to the cow head.

He had drunk a fifth of whiskey and was feeling his body become lighter. Perhaps it was the sun, or the smell of grass. Wide eyed fields.

What does this have to do with me? I said.

Wait, said the rabbit. You didn’t ask for this, it was given to you. Let it happen.

So, the man started thinking about his son.

The cow head said, I am one and the same. He sent me to tell you, a woman in the future undresses each night and prays about your hands.

The drunk man wept. He thought about killing himself. But the bloom of pain brought women to his door in a rented hotel room outside Omaha.

On the second night, he dreamed of the cow head and the rock he buried for his son. Something came to in his mind. The woman beside him shook him awake.

Why you crying? Said the woman.

I hid all the alcohol from myself.

So the woman undressed and got into bed. Through her he imagined he was burrowing in the earth. Dark understands dark, he thought.

This wasn’t enough. So he went to Texas. Found a little girl.

The girl slept in a bed two doors down from him. He asked her to hold still one night.

I have to find salvation, he said.

I don’t like this. I said. It makes me feel.

I know, said the rabbit. You didn’t ask for this, it has been given to you. Let it happen.

The son of the man was a prophet who never was. He knew this. And the girl had a gift inside her he wanted to steal.

I know what you’re talking about, I said. And I don’t like it.

Understand, said the rabbit. The pain lasts as long as you think only about your body.

The man understood the girl had a gift. His son would have been like her. Talking to rabbits in her mind, or imagining cow heads. That’s what he wanted. He wanted to talk to her. But the man knew more through his body than his mind. So he held her, he turned her body around. She pretended to sleep.

That was the vision you didn’t ask for, said the rabbit. And now you know.

The ravine wept somewhere in Nebraska. An ant crawls on your arm somewhere in New York. You’re learning to think beyond your body. And this is what was given to you.

What about the boy? I said.

He works through his father’s transgressions. He gives you visions. This is what was written on your skin, when you tried to cut him out. Power comes from his rock.

When I was a kid, I said, I wanted to hurl myself into the field. Rabbits dotted their fear-bodies into earth. The girl next door had pet rabbits and I wanted to break their bones.

You had that man’s touch in you, said the rabbit.

Where’s this man now? I asked.

In your words, said the rabbit. When you touch another, when you speak, he’s listening.

And the man let go of the little girl, whispered, I could have broken you, but I didn’t.

He remembered the women who visited his door in a rented hotel room in Omaha. They were whirlwinds asking for salvation. He couldn’t give himself enough liquor to drown out the shadows of their pain.

He sent the girl on her way. Said, tell no one.

Kissed her bone, left.

His son came to him in a dream. Said, I am the prophet that was meant to be, and wasn’t. I will work through your transgressions, and give the girl back what you’ve stolen.

He left Texas. He left messages on the highway. How long will the pain last, he asked the cow head by the ravine.

Until she releases you.

Salvation comes in visions. You didn’t ask for this, but it was given.

Vision of a man who thought himself a god hanging clothes on a line, singing “all’s gonna be fine when I die”

I heard screams from the side—

I’m sick. I didn’t ask for this.

You didn’t ask for much, said the rabbit.

Take the thought and spin it into a knot. That’s what’s going to save you.

Man with the son in the rock, I bless you. Knot you in my bones, your visions. Beyond my body, your pain.

All’s gonna be fine when you die, said the cow head to the man.

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