An hour before the Mora County Commission meeting, the chair of the commission prepares her notes on the oil and gas regulation she will propose. Her audience will be a room of fragmented activists fighting to keep Shell out of the remote, northern New Mexico valley. In the next town over, I hold my infant to my chest and sob. The bruises around my collarbone form a shadowy necklace. Across the country, in Pennsylvania, a woman ignites tap water with a match for a crowd of journalists wielding cameras. In a magistrate courtroom in Albuquerque, the judge asks a woman if she has photos that reveal the black eyes her boyfriend gave her. Across the city in a federal courtroom, Judge Browning listens as Shell claims they are a disadvantaged and oppressed group suffering from injuries inflicted by Mora County. And in the infinite darkness that precedes time, Kali, the Hindu goddess of destruction and creation, slams her black feet into the earth until it shatters.
For a longer excerpt of "Disembodied," read online at the Kenyon Review. For the full essay, order the print issue of the Sept/Oct 2017 Kenyon Review.