I was sitting on my porch
In yellow shorts
When I felt the universe
Brush up against me;
The sun, the stars, the galaxies;
The breeze on my ear, the insects;
The whole of it; and it scared me;
And I paused; making sure I didnt fall in
And go crazy; feeling it, not becoming it;
Until it passed; and I was Me
People wake up in the middle of the night.
No, not in the middle. Deep in their brains.
They know the present, the little braveries.
We lock our doors from the inside.
We want to be delivered.
We want the patience of mirrors.
We want not to be torn in two by a brown river.
We want the courage to dive
Off the high board into human eyes.
Behold the door.
The lock’s alive.The Strangeness
The strangeness of others–
Even your sisters and brothers–
Is a responsibility to
Overcome–or some night they will be lying
In a bed dying–and how you loved them,
Its quality–will be as unknown
To you as your own mother was
While a living stranger.From the Hardcover edition.
Excerpted from Red to the Rind by Stan Rice. Copyright © 2002 by Stan Rice. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.