My mother could not make appointments on time. Mostly she skipped them altogether. She feared the offices with their lights pitched at soothing levels, the way her steps were silenced by carpeting deep and blue. This was an ocean she was wading into, her legs bringing her below an invisible tide as she moved toward a door at the end of the hall. Every doctor suggested the same prescriptions as cures, life rafts, but the talk made her edgy; she resisted their words, carefully shaped to mimic scalpels. At home, mother talked of the spies behind our pine trees in the backyard, of the messages left in jet smoke trailing in light. In the office, doctors shook out palmfuls of pills, and she shrank at the sight of bees, alive and jumping in their hands.