Her faded suede evening glove feels most sentimental and comforted in his red and black plaid shirt chest pocket. There she finds the beat for her red halter dress to flare and sway. Feeling their rhythm, his scuffed, work boots stomp the twos and fours.
Why won’t he? Why hasn’t she?
When will we?
Sweets taste metallic and diabetic.
It’s tendrils pulls me back into empty, dark corners.
Breathing accelerates then stills.
I’ve died a hundred times in my head.
The latest, blazing trigger’s you.
An old world sparrow with her extra tongue bone drinks it in.
Brown gray she rarely wonders, why not a peacock’s plumes?
Short and stubby legs, why not a flamingo’s height?
Why would he focus his eyes on such an insignificant seed eater?
Is it her effortless humility and contentment?
Is it her incredible smallness against such a broad patch of sky?
Or, perhaps it’s her song.
Maybe, she sings, because she is happy and free as well.
And, his eyes and her good fortune follow his ears’ delight.
“Where is your father?”
Out with his other woman.
“I don’t know…”
She makes me call her auntie when he takes me to visit her pink duplex on that half street no good girls know about. I know about it. I no longer am good. I fear ending up on a half street like Auntie ____.
She buys me a navy blue satin dress for my silence and buys my father a suitcase for what I can only guess and fear.
I think my mother knows. I can’t ask her.
Auntie ____ talks to me about things I don’t understand but I pretend I do.
Auntie _____ lets me put powder on my freckles and toilet water behind my ears.
My mother does not let me wear make up.
My mother does not let my father do what he wants either.
He leaves with Auntie _____ and the suitcase.
I rip each stitch holding the dress together with a box cutter my father left behind.
My mother takes away the box cutter.
She tries to hold me.
I turn away.
I hold the dark silkiness to my face staining it with missing my father.
The Mylar balloon shine face reflections gather and sneak into my late afternoon dread
reminding me of yesterday and other happier faces.
No more reminders, memories, sentimental attachments.
Constant invention, creation, more.
Now and here.
I cling to the jagged edges of this moment letting it slice my palms.
The nameless empress…
She bodiless, bobs.
Free of self loathing,
she lives in her head
and kills with her mouth
biting, gnawing venom truth she spits.
Until, he comes to her,
freezing her in pewter and silver.
He hangs her on a wall in a crowded room of baubles.
They look but do not see.
Until she comes to her
daring to break the glass and trace her petrified hair
leaving her scarlet for the empress gray.
She places her dirty, holed sleeping bag behind the Andy Warhol cardboard boxes.
“Why did you drill his skull and pour warm water in it?”
“I wanted him to stay. Everyone sees me as a monster. The others with oil, glue, Drano…They all left me. The warm water on his open mind cleared away his fear, hate, disgust of me. He stayed.”
“The grass tips are beginning to turn yellow brown again.”
“From the shadow of the boulder it must be getting close to evening.”
The sweat gathering on his biceps begins to chill making his strain to move the rock up the incline more difficult.
He reaches the crest and let’s his hands fall to his sides.
The stone rolls to the bottom of the mountain.
He sighs, stretches, and reaches for a smoke.
He walks through his own smoke circle swirls towards the valley.
He walks around his eternal burden running his hands over its smooth surface marveling at its coolness and density.
He puts his cigarette out and raises his eyes to the high horizon.
‘Maybe this time,” he mutters letting his hopeful smile glide into a grimace of effort.
There was once a box with rose colored powder sand and blue neon sides called Escafe. One day a boy and a girl sat side by side parallel playing at making sand castles. The castles were shaped from similar buckets and mixtures of sand and water and architectural leanings. Yet, the boy’s castles’ foundations hovered about a foot above the ground.
The girl noticed the extra height and thought it wonderful.
She reached her hands into her foundation and lifted. The foundation began to slip through her fingers.
She remembered how the sun pushed through the gaps of her fingers as she covered her flushed face mourning the loss of her grandmother. She remembered the water rushing through her fingers when she left all she had known to escape the flood that would take all she had known and leave in its wake smells of madness , tastes of bile, and shards of memories poking the edges of her mind. She remembered tracing the edges of fences around new homes with strangers.
Her castle was ruined.
She overcame her shyness and asked the boy if she could live in his floating castle.
He told her no. His castles were homes for his thoughts and books and calculators.
“But, I can teach you how to build your own floating fortress. Forget the illusion that you are tethered to the ground. Build your castle in the air instead of attempting to raise those caught in their gravity. Be free of ties and lies. Be free.”
She took a deep breath and released herself from her entanglements and discovered she did not need high heels or even boys with rising castles to soar. Underneath the braids of modernity, she found delicate, ancient, raven black wings that carried her toward the sun and other adventures.
“I could never love you,” she says as her stomach churns, head spins, and heart splits.
“Good. I don’t want anyone’s love. Too much hassle. What type of bread did you want?”
She watches him disappear into the Waffle House.
She pledges to never speak to him until he admits he loves her in return.
They eat their morning after breakfast sandwiches and gulp their vodka spiked orange juice in silence.
He doesn’t mind, notice, or perhaps care. She never can tell.
She has too much to say, so she purses her thin lips after every second, tiny bite.
She looks at the reflection of her lap in the windshield instead of him. Her inner lap pleads with her to reconsider this love crusade and beg him to eat her for breakfast. The argument between her crotch and her dead grandma who constantly warned of dying a lonely, loose, cat woman, spinster becomes as deafening as this new silence.
Sad, how someone new and talkative with strange novellas and hang ups wrapping around his cerebellum after one night could become so sullen.
The change makes her want to tickle him till he cries and smother him till he dies.
He drops her home without opening her car door or walking her to her porch.
She stands in front of her front door slightly drunk swaying and praying to find her house key.
He drives away before she eases the key into the lock.
He doesn’t call.
She pretends she doesn’t mind, notice, or perhaps care.