I think those of us whose kidnapped children are forever missing know something very personal about phantom quakes, phantom limbs, and such tricks of the brain. A human who loses an arm feels it when other people scratch their hands, and can fool himself into believing the missing hand is moving with a mirror trick. Japanese people recently report intense waves of anxiety and loss of equilibrium on seeing a tree sway in the breeze. Another quake? Every day in New York, I see children on the train and on the sidewalks. I feel my hand on Rui’s head and face, a phantom. I hear his voice at home.
Imagine him with phantom quakes every day.
His Daddy became phantom, and he, my phantom son.
“Ghosts, be gone! And let the living return!”
– Thomas Yohannan