The Pineal Door

The Pineal Door

Shawn McClure

After we gave up our animals, my mother took me to visit Sassafras at his new home. He shared a pasture with a clique of ponies that all looked the same. They picked up their heads to watch us through their manes as we entered the gate. I felt sorry that my pony grazed apart from the group, but it also seemed like he knew how much more beautiful he was than the others. He snorted his little greeting in recognition of me as I approached. The others went back to their grass, and I pet his soft nose, talked to him a while, and said goodbye.

In the road trips that followed, I moped in the back seat of the car. To escape chatter between my sisters, I projected my mind to the side of the road where I rode an invisible pony. We galloped through the roadside weeds, keeping even with the car. We leapt mailboxes, and rested at stop lights.

Sometimes I never came home from these runs. My body went to bed, but my mind still covered impossible distances, leapt creeks, and galloped through tangled fields. We found a little place in the woods where the dusk rolled in and collected in a hollow. In that tidepool of night, I curled up on the moss, and rested in his radiant light.

*

The Pineal door exists, and I can go through it.

I visualize myself not as flesh or cells, but as bricks of empty space, electrons that hurtle around a nucleus, locked in orbit like wild ponies that never tire, never wander.

I keep still. I watch the dappled shade respond to the push and pull of a breeze. I watch my edges melt into my surroundings. My extremities soften, my boundaries smudge like charcoal. Some of my electrons escape their orbit to live in the summer air. My mind follows and hovers there, watching my body from above.

I go back to a time and place that still exists for those of us who know where to look. I fly, but I feel the invisible tether, a nagging pull that wants to draw me back to my body. I resist. I move through the perpetual dusk, knowing my way, landing as a ghost. On the way to the field, I pause to pet Atlas the steer. I smell his sweet haybreath as I reach for his white forehead star. Fatcat rubs his jowels on the fence and purrs. Another day, I’ll visit only him.

Sassafras knows I’m here. He snorts as always, stomps for attention, eager to run.

I can stretch my tether to any place I long to be. Sometimes I go down to the pond and watch the blue heron, immobile as he hunts. Other times, I squeeze up between the ceiling and the hay bales to find Fatcat. He’s a soft tuxedo of fur, purring against my face, warming the eternal twilight. Most often, I project myself to the pasture. I squeeze through the fence rails, push through the overgrown clover, and scan the shadows for my strawberry roan. I find Sassafras sleeping in the weeds. I enter his dream and we go. When he leaps, it feels just like flying. 

Shawn McClure

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