my brain

When I was younger, lying in my bed with its guard rails to keep me from flinging myself out of it in my sleep, I would think about thinking. I would worry that, after falling asleep, my brain would forget to tell my body to breathe and I would die. I worried that I would not remember to swallow and would choke, or that I would fall asleep smashing my guts against my rib cage and not be able to feel the pain of my insides being perforated and then expire, messily, horrifically. I did not trust my brain, no, not at all. Why should I trust my brain when I couldn’t trust it to recall where South Dakota was on a map, or how to tie my shoes without two loops double-knotted? The short answer was that it would be safer not to trust it to function while I was unconscious, because I could definitely keep myself alive if I were awake. Driving is a time when, as an adult, I sometimes wonder why I trust my brain to tell my body how to react on a freeway. How does the damn organ do anything it’s supposed to reliably? And yet it does, until it stops.