The Agony in the Garden

The Agony in the Garden
Marie Kilroy

Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter.
—Matthew 26:40

I watched from my train window the lavender dusk hushing
over bare-limbed trees and squatting houses. Thumbing through my notebook,
I found an old letter from a long ago love
telling the then-me how proud he
was, how impressed he was with my strength, and
my sense of self after my first cancer diagnosis,
first but not last. You’ve been through so much,
my doctor said. Us passengers are hurtling
forward and I am softly swaying in my chair,
slithering down southbound, covered in this library air
after having visited my grandmother on Easter,
who is still pirate-smiled and doing fine. At Union Station
I watched a video on my phone
about creatures that live on the bottom of sea beds,
and saw fields of ocean dandelions
glowing with bioluminescence,
like Japanese lanterns in silent seas. Two little boys ran
through the waiting crowd followed by their mother,
who grabbed one by the arm and whispered a warning
to be good already. After my father’s mother died, quickly followed by my father’s father,
and next my father, having lost that side of the family, I spent the soft nights
smashing mirrors with a rolling pin, pieces of me reflecting back, the image getting smaller
and smaller. It was odd breaking things late at night with a tool
meant for baking, for building bread, cookies, scones, things to share with
those you love, to feed them something from your hands. Most of the time now
I wake early and drink full test tea, the sizzle rising from the broken spout,
the sheen long gone from the steel, my reflection a blur stretched across its globe.

One evening after a shower, I felt something like a soft stone
in the soft spot of my lower abdomen encased by my pelvis
and my hands refused to stop poking and prodding, shaking
through the night. We are made of mostly water and at some point
it calls us back. After the women buried Jesus in the tomb, their hands
covered in myrrh and aloe, who went to their funerals? The nurse pokes
my uterus and watches the black and white monitor, the inside of my insides,
and laughs, it’s very fluid. As I walk down the street, sort of sore and feeling
like a cracked pomegranate, seeds spilling out in some bejeweled goo on the sidewalk, I
never slowed my pace. But I’ll admit to you that I spent hours in the porcelain tub,
my knees to my chest, and rocked back and forth to make waves, a tide of my own, till the
water overflowed to the floor and I smacked the water hard over and over till my palms
hurt. Fluid, the tumor is just fluid, benign, and the doctor suggests I check back in a year
and now I don’t think about it often even though I already know I’ll be buried in the family
plot near the woods.

The mirrors are in the garden. Jesus knew about agony in the garden.

The boys laughed and ran around the marble column,
pretend shooting at each other, their boy heads big on their small
boy bodies. Bang, I got you! The other refuses to die, breaking the rules. They repeat and
repeat, running in crop circles, like naughty druids at Stonehenge,
their squeals of delight echoing up and out in our domed sky.

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