A Drowning, 1984
A woman with wet hair walks by. You want her to be your mother. And so you follow her. Her green and white sandals go click-click and it’s like the heartbeat you can’t remember. You want to be on that boat in the wind, head to her chest. Click-click on the gum-covered pavement. In your head those fifteen, eighteen, twenty-two steps behind her you change her hair brown to red. You change her lipstick, which is easy from the back. You only saw her mouth for a moment. It did not make a kissy face into the glass as she passed. A woman’s mouth can do anything. Click-click. Though the street is full of motion, she looks at no one. She does not turn her head. A car backfire, some siren. A loud shout from a boy to a man on the street’s other side. Even this does not make her turn. For all you know she could be deaf, water logging her ears. You call out mother, but she doesn’t respond. You call out monster, but she keeps moving ahead.
This morning before the dog walk I put an extra layer on. I kept thinking about the body in the icy water, the sky so morning cold. There'd been rumors all week. But there were no wounds and nothing was bruised. Pink shirt held under water? How easy death comes.
I used to dream of bullet wounds. In thighs, just a maim. They say to dream of red legs is to live through lust. They say life is full of holes. That all matter, if condensed could fit into a sphere the size of a pea. I say bullet. Yes—
let’s get this to go.
“Cezanne left paintings he didn’t like in the fields,” I say. The television is the most interesting thing in the room. Your eyes are glazed and make me think of heel blisters burst wet. The girl on the screen misses the beam, a man covers her face with his hand. “Get me a drink,” I say. I don’t really want one. I just want to know that you’ll care for me when I get old. “What about the Sainte-Victoire?” you say. And the tarn cleaves deeper, and a mountain made out of blue clay and purple perpendicular dashes grows on your chair.