striking flint into the ash
of once what burned
but now is past.
A rather aggressive tip jar sign I made a few years back…
Making work again. ok!
It’s difficult to remember what meat is, I say. Is that what we call the faces of the dead, or is it the offerings we leave for them? It’s difficult to remember how to feed yourself. I want to give you a present that registers emotionally like a bacon-wrapped human heart, and then you will know I’m not difficult, I’m just chewy. In an early afternoon that felt like dawn you put one forearm on either side of my face and apologized. If it was for yourself, you shouldn’t have bothered. If it was for the wind that was constantly coming to stir us up, you couldn’t have helped it.
I remember the baby from the dream. I was alone in a room, or I was speaking to someone who I couldn’t see, and the light was pink and yellow and everything was round. I felt something padding at me impatiently, I felt the pain less acutely than I thought I would. When I was done, the baby was there. The other person in the room was gone, and I thought Good, and it was sunrise all over again as I explained some things. I explained who I was, and I was relieved that for once it came easy to me, and I explained who she was, because it was a she whose face I already had the words for. And who we were going to have to be to survive—which is the secret that all mothers whisper to their daughters when the men have left.
Brooke and I drink identical white wine in a room boarding itself up with hardwood and stained glass. We reduce the men to meat, but differently than they’ve so often done to us. Weighing them, comparing their compassion per square pound, talking about the brown paper that feels like silk when we carry them with us. She says, List all the things you still love about him, and as usual when someone is trying to help me, for a split second I feel angry. I can explain him, but I’m back to being unable to introduce myself. My face has been compared to Brooke’s over and over by people who have never bothered to look at us. I look at her face and think, I could describe it, I could talk about her face without ever mentioning any obvious qualities. I could talk about her eyes without mentioning their size. I could talk about her eyes just by talking about the time I went swimming at dusk in a lake with a soft clay floor in Cape Cod. That evening and her eyes were separated by fifteen years and nothing.