Freeze by Gerri Ravyn Stanfield

Editor Matty Byloos, Fiction, July 18th, 2016

"Alive is a strange way to be... Space gives birth to everything"

green house in the snow snowed in photo by Daniil Maksyokov


There is a space before something happens. The space that you fill before you even notice that you do it. This space empties your gut, peels off your skin.

You fear the nothing in your belly so you walk where it is cold. Icy wet, weighted clouds run past. You walk fast. You leave the nothing behind. Pass the bridge. Pass the creek with the icy bark. You force your hands outside your pockets to make them numb so you can feel them buzz. Alive is a strange way to be.

Water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, 0 degrees Celsius.

There are so many ways to be suspended. You hang between the loss of him and the time that you won’t care when you don’t hear his voice when you open the door.

The sun peeks at you. Light glows on snow, cinnamon, golden and misinformed about what is actually going on here. You step on the ice over the creek to make it clear, to see beneath it.

Frostbite occurs after the skin has been exposed to 0 degrees and wind speed of 15 mph for 30 minutes long.

Some things you must write around because they ice over. Maybe you were always frozen and absent. That is what he shouted over the shattered plate.

Your hands have caught a cold. Blue curled fingers. You imagine a face screaming under the ice. You imagine your face under the ice.

The human heart will likely arrest in icy water after about 30 minutes.

You lied when you said you didn’t want them. The lumpy, slobbering babies with shining eyes. The small hands that reach for you. You don’t even have that now.

That baby with the dark curls stared at you yesterday from the shopping cart in the Walgreen’s parking lot while his father unloaded the bags into the trunk. You thought, I could take that baby. Just for a second.

You see the lopsided cardboard box, stiff with ice, abandoned half in the creek. You walk fast.

Drowning takes 3-4 minutes of being completely submerged.

The box is stuffed with blankets, green and puffy. Peel back one layer and you jump-startle because the blanket rises and falls. You think of Moses in the basket, tiny orphans left on doorsteps.

You wished for babies after he was gone. Forehead pressed to the hardwood floor, crouched with one hand stretched to the sky. Is this an answer? Is this a space?

Your hands feel a wet cold nose and fur, soft and treacherous. Then another warmth, four squirming round bodies. You touch them, their eyes unopened. They whimper in a high tone, musical.

Someone left them. Were they too many, too little, not enough healing when they were sick, not enough to eat? They pile together now, steam rolling over each other. Just born, dumped.

You found it. You opened it. Space gives birth to everything.

You curl in, you pull the heavy blanket inside your coat and cover it.

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Header image courtesy of Daniil Maksyokov. To see his photo essay “Junk and Gems,” go here.

Gerri Ravyn StanfieldGerri Ravyn Stanfield is a transformational acupuncturist, inventive author and international workshop leader, dedicated to liberating the unique medicine that lives within each of us. Ravyn weaves creative arts, trauma healing, earth based spirituality and social justice into her work with Revolution of the Spirit and Acupuncturists Without Borders. Her first creative nonfiction book, Revolution of the Spirit: Awaken The Healer, comes out in June 2016. Learn more about her here.


Matty Byloos

Matty Byloos is Co-Publisher and a Contributing Editor for NAILED. He was born 7 days after his older twin brother, Kevin Byloos. He is the author of 2 books, including the novel in stories, ROPE ('14 SDP), and the collection of short stories, Don't Smell the Floss ('09 Write Bloody Books).