My entire life has been informed by the absent space between us; not the physical space but more the distance of my language. The distance of my touch; pressing, firm, direct, too blunt then aloof, across the room. The sound of my tenderness is the sound of my heels tapping on a floor receding in volume. The warmest I’ll get is far away. They’ve memorized the muscles of my back. They’ve memorized my pout and the echo of my cry filling cavern carved by the sound of my heels tapping on a floor retreating. Longing, and the way I succumb to holding, or allowing touch, recrudescent and poxed by them after a period of silence. Tarred by them, marked after a period of respite.  A period of cavern and them memorizing the color of my shoulder blades in the sun so I’m tall and olive and taut from tension. Always desperate for the distance. Tall, and wrought with tension.

 

 I am strolling when I see them. I am even sauntering til I see them. I am thinking til I see them then vapid, seeing nothing but a way past. Emptied, but not quite that: automatic. Spurred by instinct. Moved by force. The pervading eyes and I am (smiling) seeing the space close in around me again. Torpid, yet still walking being dragged by shell. I’m a shell.  Inside a buzzer goes off telling me to clench my jaw, to tighten my shoulders. I was moving my hips until I saw them. The way there was once twenty feet between us. The buzzer says suck in my waist and walk straight. Don’t fall.  Don’t move your hips. I was swaying til I saw them.  Ticking from nerves, I looked too gaily upwards. Maybe a pleasant thought crossed me right before I saw them. My most pleasant thoughts are false memories: reverie. Suddenly there was ten feet (I am smiling), then five feet (in reverie), then one foot. Suddenly the ubiquitous hand on my shoulder, on my middle back, my lower back and “you’re too pretty…” dusts my ear.  I am still smiling as they trail their fingers further down. A mass. They are all in a huddle. So many of them with their fingers out filling the space between us. I am smiling. They are reaching for me, touching me and  

 

it is most important they tell me I am too pretty to frown.

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