I heard the heater pop. My heart jumped sharply. I am afraid of you breaking and entering by my bedroom window. I am afraid of you breaking and entering, yet, hopeful too. You’ll give me enough time won’t you? For me to shove you back from the sill a seven foot leap and fall on December’s frost and wait for my candle, for my basin of water, my gauze, my needle and thread to sew you up nicely in comforting half-tones, “ Don’t you scare me like that again.”
Wind is picking up again, finding the flutes embedded in the drain pipes. The radiator’s spasm still has my heart in my head. Every watermark on the pane is your fingerprint, the moving shadow is your patient wavering. Unless I’m careful (I’ve been playing Girls all night long) Christopher Owens is you whispering. Fucking christ. You’re staining everything.
Yet word had it that you’d learned enough Spanish to translate in Buenos Aires. The initial leap in expatriot life had you looking back often, back at me really, the iris sensitive still to the mark I left there, but settled given two years: first in an apartment too close to the Hospital General de Agudos. The landlord had, to make up for the location no doubt, enlisted a sixteen-year-old Haïtian to clean your flat regularly. She smelled like cinnamon and freshly sharpened pencils.
You know she stole your Hélène Cixous tired of dusting it so often, saddened by the new sound in its spine, knowing that you couldn’t read French anyway … why did you bring that along? Instead of Elliot or Miller or someone you could understand? At any rate, you didn’t say anything to Anaramño, the mentioned landlord, instead enjoying the secret, leaving sometimes a half-smoke Virgin Slim or dead flower on the plot of spot Cixous once rested.
You’ve a special talent, allow me to speak for Laila, and allow me to name her, for the nonchalant nicety that, when allowed for some mental fermentation, turns to a psilocybin crash, an excuse for paranoia, a sharp about-face, a claw to the nose of your lover with his eyes a-shinin’ for you (cracking like the well of wax the candle’s flame couldn’t quite get to).
Laila was aware of your schedule: traduit les matins de lundi au jeudi. She made your bed then, washed the films of grease then, deported the spiders sitting next to the shower head, jumpy, shaky, at the sound of shifting stairs… would work ever end early? One day, a fire-drill day, you’ll come home early, Laila fighting a scruff on the hardwood with a bristle brush. She’s trying not to think of the medialunas shining under their saran wrap on the counter. When you walk, you do not make noise (and, anyways, the bristle scrape) so you’re suddenly there.
En ce moment, il va me lever, m’embrasser à la fois. Ça commençera transcendant… je me sentirai le profondeur du ventre danse. La feu allumée, je suis destinée être consumée. Ta bouche goutte de mienne, la faim augmente, tes mains [pétri} mon corps. Miennes te tire plus proche, plus proche. Quelle exstase tremblante ! Tes dents ont trouvé ma langue, là, leur pression. J’ai peur. Le peur est deliceux, le délire, la tête tisse j’aime que je te plais j’aime que je te plais tout pendant que tu manges ma langue bien que mon sang remplir la bouche, trouve mes fossettes, pointille ma robe. Tu n’arréteras qu’elle est toute mangée. En meurante, je te serrai mon sexe encore à la danse.
That’s it. You offer the most sublime way to die. Word had it you found another flat after this, not too far from Bosques de Palermo.
I don’t know what you know of me. I still film and follow overflying birds to the country. When I first moved to the city I lay on a fat man’s bed because I didn’t have money. I build scenarios around colors and presently my eyes like ochre. Ochre is the story of a brother and sister, twins, who wake up in their trundle to bright rectangles, refractions from passing windshields, flying across the wall, who eat biscoff cookies in the afternoons, who share custody of a lovely mustard sweater, who relive Lion King dialogue whilst raking leaves. I do love shorter pieces; films that have little more ambition a part from beauty.
Another word had it that you’d started to write yourself. Send them (your words I mean) for some psychoanalysis. You said, “ I dream of backfloating on a pair of tracks en attendant for the coming train. She arrives, I find her speed, embrace her my veins bursting, la regard with all her power. She’s a machine destined to travel le monde entier… crashing over my prostate body.”
You’d excel at flash fiction.
I don’t know what they’ve told you, but I fear one contained my address. Or, perhaps, a mention of my current employment underneath the banner of graphic design (where us photographers go to die). It’d be only too easy to find me given what clues I’ll leave in the photos’ descriptors. May your eyes never find the trail of crumbs. Would my hands stop dropping them! Do I not remember what relief overcame me once rid of that retraceable bunker on Finch Avenue? Come back to town. I won’t be around.Word to the wise and the debonaire poltergeist: don’t you be looking for me neither.
Yet I’ll continue to assume, of course, that the echoing gong on the fire escape were your shoes. I saw a shadow pass devant la lune and knew that that was you too. Sometimes I overhear other women describe your face. All very well, I don’t wear my heart on my sleeve and most couldn’t understand the fright they (the descriptions I mean) give me. (She saw you loitering with her boss on 63rd and Madison. She saw you first and only noticed her boss immediately afterwards: said your eyes had an expansive radius of destruction and a meticulously shaped mustache. Rhett and Ashley in one man. I filled in the lines: I said Ralph Lauren, I said dirty blonde, said that space between the two front teeth, and urban wind against his torso. She said yes, she said yes yes yes.)
Ah, now I think: You were wearing just about nothing. I just had on my green ring, peridot you know, and the sun was on a slow rise and beneath our skin our bones glowed from the inside. Looking down the fall of your profile… eyes tumbling from forehead to the nose to the heart of your lips… le lendemain. I remember then a hotel pool in Irvine California and minty watermelon plastic sunglasses through which I’d watch my father bobbing a few beers deep the graying blond sticking to his forehead floating so calmly he might be dead, but knew at the slightest scent of noir, his blood would spring to action. I’d take for granted the residual invincibility, comme si c’était moi, toute seule, qui peux luttre les bêtes du monde. Comme toi. For you would wake, muscle fibers hugging themselves as you’d stretch over me, to save me or crush me I couldn’t say, good morning. Class is when? At nine? We have some time. Good, I’d say. The surface of your skin would dive into mine and lift and kiss and dive into mine and lift and kiss and dive into mine and lift and kiss and watch me shake my eyes to the back of my head. I liked watching the animal come to your eyes. I liked the sheen on my inner thighs.
Ah, now I think: my jawline fit squarely under your collarbone. There my face would cradle. Above there was the sky. I’d rotate my face back to find your closed eyes glowing orange in setting sun light. All colors so picture still. This was a moment of three-year-old immortality. A sensation of knowledge, to be betrayed jamais, malgré la mystère.
Then the sinking. You are a morbid joker. And me, still three, would take everything very seriously.
“ My father gave me a fountain pen for graduation. I dream of filling it with your blood.”
“And write what?” I asked. Yes, tell me exactly, what goes into killing a loving?
“Your biography,” eyes glinting.
Retrospect suggests that you craved me in the flavor of angry. Risen and primitive, the consciousness of a doe finding her buck crazed, rabid. So cruelly said, you then waited for a punch to the chest. The punch to the chest. You grabbed for the counter and missed the edge grabbing instead a plate we’d shared earlier, shattering the porcelein to gravel as it spun from your hand, where, then, your back skidded across the broken pieces. There. Now you know, don’t you, that you can scare me. That I can hurt you. That I can leave. Leave. Leave. Leave.