It’s wonderful to be shaken by the booming of his words, remembering that he will never want to hurt me. His voice is beautiful. I love listening to him.



My mother died months ago, and this week I began to go through her things. Digging through forty years of basement-worthy items and memories of my parents will take longer than my typical resolve. I found the genie’s lamp in a cardboard box along with bottles of spray paint, warped old textbooks from my mother’s nursing school, and spools of rope. The lamp stood out, so I removed it from the box, wanting to take it upstairs to a room I was filling with stuff to maybe not trash. After two strides, the lamp was ripped from my hands, slamming down into and cracking the concrete floor. I ran to the stairs and turned back to see the thing jerking back and forth. What I imagined to be red poisonous gas shrieked out through the lamp’s lip in erratic bursts. The genie’s emergence took a full day — first a gold-braceleted red wispy arm shot out from the spout and struggled for leverage, more shrieks and blasts of red vapor, then another arm, then, after hours of a terrible battle, the genie finally pulled his head and torso up into the world of my parents’ basement. The process was long enough for me to become curious more than terrified. It was a horrible, painful birth to witness.



When I’m on the bottom step, I’m out of his reach. He is not strong enough to move the lamp either.