Me, You and the Music I’m Putting You Through
~by Sheila Squillante
“The Prayer of Kala Rupa”
Monks of the Dip Tse Chok Ling Monastery in Dharmasala, India
“Twice in my life I had the same vision, I was suspended in the center of a sphere that was not a sphere, every point of it converged at my head and my feet like the poles of a magnet. I felt the weight of the Universe through my spine, it was not harmful but overwhelming. And I heard a sound, deafening, the whole Universe’s vibration. This is the closest to that sound.”–YouTube user, solnegrolunaroja
I was pregnant with my first child. I was woozy and large, overheated under late July sun, under the heat of generation. I sought refuge in the cool dark of a theater with my husband. On the screen, a movie star, a family drama, an alien invasion. From the screen, a sound, a single, reverberating note to score the extermination of humanity. I was the center of a sphere that was not a sphere, and I was not even the center, but my child was. I felt the weight of him, suspended there. Invasion. The sound emanating from the screen chaos, the expunging, fields of blood, bodies, my body, my body, through the filmic fear. It reached through the dark and found me, converged at my head and my feet, vibrated up through our two, tuned spines. It plucked me away from safety. It felt harmful and overwhelming.
I was in labor with my first child. Earlier, there had been music in the hospital room. There had been my husband holding me, dancing to light notes and melody. There had been sun through the afternoon window, then slow laps around the square of the corridor, the center of which was the nursery. A walking meditation. Hours ticked, my water long since broken, but my body still in stasis, suspended.
I was giving birth to my first child. When the induction began, when the chemicals flooded into my system that began my body’s relinquishing of him, a sound also began within me. It filled me as if liquid and I its container. It was shaped and luscious and devastating. It was in my spine and also upon it. It did not begin softly, but as a long, low note that I was compelled to hold. My husband held my hips as I held my breath and pushed. I held my legs apart and pushed. I held the rails of the bed and pushed. I held my husband’s hand. I held myself inside of that sphere. I split myself wide. It was not harmful, but overwhelming. The sound was like a vision. I saw myself both before and after, my child both inside and out. I held the long, low note, felt my vibrating spine, the weight of the whole chaos, melody and movement, landscape and field, my body, my son, our breath, my blood, my center, both rent and whole.
Sheila Squillante writes poems and essays in Pittsburgh.