> jumping into life.

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Listen: The monk rapped on the coffin, calling "Alive or dead? Alive or dead?" and even though the master replied, "I won't say, I won't say," my heart screamed back, Alive! Threw me forward in my seat, thrumming, Alive! Not just the absence of death; joy is more than the ceasing of pain. Alive! Alive!

Listen: Once I stayed in bed for three days, neither sleeping nor dying, while winter sang its grey snowsong outside. Once I traced the bone of my hip with a thin blade; once I forgot to eat for a week. Once I consumed men because men give off life. I would lick their sweat and call it honey, drink their dreams and call them mine.

Listen: The world comes right up to the membranes of your eyes. It passes through your skin until you reek of it; there is no escape. Once I walked uphill for three hours with death pacing me, off to the right, very close. The hills yawned open. Death slid her soft hand into mine, wanted to show me the view. The deer watched from a distance, their skin shivering in the sun.

Once I rode on the back of a red scooter, no helmet, wind on my toes. I spread my arms out like we were flying; no fear, no fear.

Listen, listen: Alive or dead? Alive or dead? The world comes right up to the thumping of your veins. The creek swallows the mountain, grain by grain and you are missing it. When the shadow of the hawk passes over you, you will flinch like any field mouse. It is worse not to.

Once I met his eyes for the first time across a dark room and my heart threw me forward in my seat, screaming "Alive!" Once we stood on the edge of a canyon; once we walked farther than I can walk in a day and then stood at the top on the edge and he slipped his hand into mine and our hearts both screamed, Alive! Alive! Alive!

Listen: That is why I loved him. Each morning his eyes were a knock on my coffin, and each morning the answer came easy as a gift: no fear, no fear. Alive.

Good writing. I'm glad you're back.

i am not sure why i didn't tell you at the time. but this is my favorite. ever. of all time. of anything.

it was nika. that one up there.

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