The Dark Night of Synecdoche

From Segue (Fall 2009, No. 8):

I: Diaphragms

She discovered it in my brother’s dresser, stuffed beneath the tube socks, only partially concealed. She’d been putting laundry away, lost as usual in the etherized loneliness of housework, when the saucer appeared, darting between the cumulus socks and stratocumulus underpants. “It’s here to take me away,” she cried, “a UFO!” Or so I imagine, the pathos of the incident pushing back, these many yearls later, against the comedy.

And take her away it did. When the object’s actual identity at last imposed itself on my mother’s consciousness, she felt faint. She had to lie down on my brother’s bed, the very spot in which the saucer had landed. A diaphragm? Her fifteen-year-old son was having sex. Her fifteen-year-old son was having sex with his fourteen-year-old girlfriend. “Good God,” she whispered, as if trying to keep the revelation from herself. Little did she know that an even greater shock lay ahead. Although hardly in bed with her progeny, shouldn’t she have sensed, lying atop his comforter, this final outrage? Wasn’t there something about the diaphragm she ought to have recognized.

Read the rest of Dark Night of Synechdoche (PDF)