Thursday, May 7, 2009

Focus - Jessalyn

I did not yet understand the way men suffer and so those were lonely days, when we lived in that house with the walls of red earth. That house with the roof of branches. I bought white dress after white dress; an attempt, I think, to make my body into something that could heal. A cool cup of water to press against your lips. They all looked strange with my skin and hair. White isn't a color I can wear. I learned that. In that house.

When it wasn't at its worst would lie quietly with your arms at your side, pinning down the thin sheet. And I would listen to your breath across the room and drink coffee in the wicker chair beside the window. Smoothing over and over the white cotton across my knees. Sipping very, very slowly. Once you said It's like everything inside of me is out of focus and it comes out through my vision. My sight isn't what's out of focus. It's everything else. It's everything inside.

I understood, that I could understand. But even so, your eyes did bleed. When they bled I would scrape the walls of our home and spit on the russet dust I captured in my palm. Mix it thick and salve it across your crusted lashes, until your fluid and the earth were the same dull hue. Then I would joke, Call me your little Christ, call me your female Christ coquette.

Towards the end of things you couldn't sleep any more so neither could I. At dawn I would catch young birds and hold their bodies in my throat, my breath puppeteering their delicate pipes, returning to you with voice of an oriole, or a robin, or goldfinch. Would warble at you with the song of a dead bird. It was something that made the waiting easier. It was what it was. In the end every one of my white dresses was stained with avian blood. They were easier to wear, after that.

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