by Beth Gordon
Boy Meets Girl
She runs everywhere without explanation. Hair thickly tangled like the wild animal she tried to leave behind. I’m just a mad boy with a lightbulb in his mouth. My dreams wake the entire neighborhood. Cops arrive at my door with noise complaints. In perfect stillness I wait behind my front window, streaked and dulled with my wet breath. Eyes forward she doesn’t see me. She doesn’t even imagine what someone could do with enough time and a kitchen knife. If she would slow down, learn the art of plate-spinning, sword-swallowing and simultaneous unicorn-riding, things could unfold like a moth’s wet wings. We could fall asleep to the sound of winter water, dropping like love songs from rusty pipes.
It should taste of deep earth and sunshine you said and I wondered is now the moment
to run. Is now the moment to lean my head back and let you drop Irish crème filled
chocolates into my open mouth. Migrating birds out today, soaring on thermals you said
and I woke up at peace with myself, no nightmares of substance to report. But it was
time to pull an origami trick, see how I could fold my life and transform it into a multi-
edged crane. It tastes like the moon I said, like memories of the life we didn’t choose.
In my last dream of the night you rode a unicycle. Mastering the art of balance, motion
and bravado. Mumbling to yourself about dialects, surveying the holes in your walls.
Your neighbor arrived with an inflatable snowman that lit up like your eyes when coffee
is brewing. All traffic came to a halt. All the bars were closed. It’s only ice I said, you
can see it on the trees, you can see it on the grass, you can see it on the dirt. It should
taste of deep earth and sunshine you said and I wondered is now the moment to run.
They’ll think we’re in shock he said and I asked but aren’t we? Standing on a tarmac holding someone else’s baby, I’m bleeding near the exit wound. My body fights infection, memories of survivors who we left behind. Nothing left to lie about but yet we do. Fiction is always easier than truth. My ugliest scar, remnant of a reckless foot race at an icy bus stop, might be mistaken for a shark attack or drunken brawl complete with jagged knife. There is no knotted ring of useless flesh to mark your death. Uncontrolled time travel has a way of blurring every line: love and hate, here and there, life with you and life without.
The sharp-edged model who won’t give up her seat to pregnant women or disabled veterans. Her khaki faux-fur jacket is the height of fashion, more politically correct than dead rabbits or chinchillas. She no longer has to fear neo-punk college students with olive spiked hair and cans of spray paint
the color of imaginary blood. Multiply her story twenty-two times and I might discover the history of everything. I might also discover ready-to-wear sod, stacked up in echoing warehouses, waiting to hide the dirt in front of emerald-green row houses.
Beth Gordon resides in St. Louis, Missouri and spends most weekends in the company of fellow writers, musicians, wine drinkers, and two dogs named Izzie and Max. She is the proud mother of three creative human beings, Matt, Alex and Elise, who fill her world with art and music.
Photo credit: Louise via Flickr, All Creative Commons. Image is a of a wall covered in a piece of street art, a white unicorn head smoking a cigarette