The tiger arched her back and the whole world stopped. I was standing in the middle of the street and the cars just stopped, people just stared. Sounds were just whimpers because I knew what she meant and we forgot it all. Went blank in the substratum. I heard sirens and yelling, the bubble burst. He doesn’t know where he is. The tiger watches and she is unafraid. I, on the other hand keep yelling, “Can he breath, can he breath!” Nobody hears me, or maybe they do.
Time stands still, next to the tiger waiting to see whose next. And there were men, strong men- even they couldn’t subdue the fear of the gap. When lightening goes off in your head all you can do is stop and forget. Forget everything that led to now. The study of death and its process: how faithful you might be, how the great ones may be there- besides the tiger and time- but closer and waiting to take your hand. Somewhere better than this, a place with no needles or pumps. Just a flower- a lotus opening with him inside- young and perfect. New again and unafraid of this world. The world he left that left him, left him like they left Jesus. Accused and in pain. Only God knows us inside and nobody else. Then we got there and there were big clocks reminding me, a stray cat in the parking lot, not quite a tiger but well on her way. Everyone was hurting not just me. One woman was a rack of bones, one woman was fat and couldn’t breath or lift her head. One man smiled at me and I don’t know why. The police man had no hair and kind eyes. We’re all in a mess. This if the realest thing. This moment when her back arches, it’s probably over. What can I do. I remember to pray even though my heart races and my stomach churns. Even though I feel no devotion, nothing but empty experience of nothing. Whoever we are, God, please don’t let it be this. Help him. Did you remember your mantra? “No,” he said like a child. So we said it together until he faded away again. Is there a pureland. This cannot be it. It’s too heavy and gritty, raw and dirty to the core. Who am I touching his head? I wish I was God. They walk in and out of doors and curtains, I answer questions blank but somehow having the answer. “My back hurts. Help me. Help me God.” “I’m trying. I’m trying.” I said. She won’t stop arching her back. This tiger. I wish I was God. I’m so helpless and empty. I could cry out of fear and helplessness. But panic is greater than the softness of tears. If I can’t be God I can at least be hard, for him. Touch him softly while he thrashes, while the clock ticks and machines beep and buzz. I can pray to someone bigger than me even though I can’t see the bigger one, the bigger version of us both. His skin is wet with sweat and urine. This is very real. I’m looking for God in the salt on his skin. He’s superhuman and now he’s resting. It’s me. I’ve done this. Arched my back so many times everyone is paying for me, my sins. How I’m selfish and fear driven. Self obsessed and lost in my own personal haze of narcissism. They said I can’t come back inside. I waited in a daze of empty movement, hollow and colorless. I could sit in a far away corner. I could cry just to get the pressure off, but I don’t. I watch the sick people churning. They’re inside of me aren’t they? Starving, breathless and obese. Lost feline in the parking lot, no home. No meat. Nobody loves her, she’s only a cat. “I love you. I’ll take it away.” I think as he lays there. Then my mind starts spinning, how can I, be God. Save him. Take him away. Deliver him to the pureland. I’m not God, I’m a frightened child holding on. Telling other men to help him. These images of his face, I will never forget. The cars all waiting at the lights. The end of time, with us inside. The tiger as she arches over all of us. I knew something was up. “What time did this happen?” they asked me, “4:20” I said because I knew. That’s when I started texting. A man for help. “I need you.” I said and I really do. “How long did it last?” They asked me. “A minute or two.” I don’t know I was outside of time. A nice young man stood staring at me, just staring. He was tall and had kind blue eyes. He just stood there behind me, probably to keep me out of the street. These cats get lost and cars hit them all the time. “Are we almost there?” I asked another nice man. There was a lot of screaming and yelling, speaking in tongues in a very violent and scary way. And so he leaned forward, his eyes were also blue. I remember everyone’s eyes. Mostly nothing else. And he said, “Yes. We’re almost there.” Then he put his cool hand on mine and he said very intently only a few inches from my face to cover the yelling, “Don’t take any of this personally ok?” I said, “What do you mean?” I know I’m acting like a child and I can’t help it. All these men know the way. The way in this God forsaken world. Is it God forsaken? They seem like God. I don’t know, I’m totally lost. “I need you.” I wrote. “I think he’s dying.” And so back to the question, I asked, “What do you mean?” He said, “This happens. He won’t remember. It’s part of the process. I’ve had people come at me with knives even.” And I said, “Ok. Thank you.” And I smiled at his eyes, which were soft and concerned. Since I seemed so small, “He cares about children like me,” I thought. Jesus must be somewhere. I knew it wasn’t personal. I just wanted his suffering to stop. I could only wait. All these men were in charge and yet the tiger was female. And eventually there was a spark and an injection and he returned. I told you this, he’s a piece of lightening, like a tail broken off a snake. He’s not going anywhere but through you like a dagger. I know. I know. But he needs me. They all do. So I went outside, they told me someone is here for you. Someone with blue eyes and a blue car. Someone like God who listens and moves softly. So I told him my story almost like I was praying for the first time and he watched me like a target never moving from my face. There was air, almost like steam. Between us, I know he noticed the cat too. She might have kittens, she may have lost one. She might not be lost, she might be looking for a kitten. He found me here crying inside. I told him the story. I need to rise with him on my back. I need to be stronger to take him there so we won’t forget. We can’t be from this place. It can’t be real. Nobody is breathing, the clock runs the lights. Please help me. “Help me God, I’m sorry.” And where was God, I tried. I was looking. You found me. Jesus must be somewhere suffering too. With needles and bullets and hunger and dried out lungs. With disorders and diseases and he too must have forgotten what this is. He said. “Why have you forsaken me?” He cried into the heavens. I was only looking down at the cold tile floor thinking, mostly nothing and sometimes, “Where are you?” Make me think of you, pray to you. Make me remember when he can’t.” I am so empty, even now. I am filled with something heavy, like a dark lake of tears. I am so empty I’m hollow, floating over the bed with us in it. I have a body and it’s warm. I can’t understand any of this. “Good luck to you.” Said the policeman as he turned to leave. “Your car is safe.” “But I’m not safe.” I thought as I watched the man outside smoking. I need to find her kitten for her. This is serious. He’s sleeping now even though his back hurts. She’s taking a break. No more arching today. The clock appears to be stopped or broken, not by me though. I’m caught in a pause listening for saints flying towards me in the astral air, listening over the fog and confusion. Beyond the hunchbacked old lady with her finger on the button. Apparently she decides who gets in and out. We somehow think death is a fun thing, we somehow think this life is a joke to be laughed at. Because like Bhagavan Das says, “If I don’t laugh. I’ll cry.” I can’t laugh. I can’t cry. I can only stare at this invisible, indivisible space of God conscious dwelling. Who was he anyway. A name, a force in your head. A father figure. A child you needed to maintain. Your anchor. Your answer. Your only friend. God. Where are you now? If not here. In us. He can’t even remember. It’s me. It’s always me. I’ve seen too much. Behind my eyes. Where they visit like words. Are the prophets who hide for some reason. They want me to think it’s all me. Alone in this room waiting for an answer. There’s actually nothing technically wrong. Psychotic maybe. No, just lightening breaking off in his head. Maybe it was a piece of God he forgot, who didn’t look like him but was anyway. When he woke up I looked into his eyes and said, “Are you ready to leave?” And he started ripping off his clothes. “Yes.” He said and one eye was all I saw and it was silver. It was strange. I said, “Can you see?” And he said, “Yes.” And the only conversation was me. Where am I, who are you? Where are we going? Do you get that the ride ends? The cars stop. The lights change. He carries handcuffs and if you’re guilty it’s just too late. “So you don’t mind if I search your car then?” He said. “Go ahead. There’s nothing in it but papers and space.” Silence. This type of silence is complete. I can’t tell you more unless you’re inside me. That’s why I do what I do. Which, might be just a memory that I can’t swallow. That’s what I thought when I saw him look up toward heaven and grab his own throat. God, are you here. Inside us. Even when we forget. It’s all these eyes I’ve seen. So many eyes. I have no home, my mother lost me I’m afraid. “Help him.” And I went blank floating over everyone arching my back. My heart stopped. His eyes never moved from mine. That’s the truth no matter what I tell you. Don’t ever leave me. I would be lost,
lost without you. Sharada Devi