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"Your Eyes, Before Them", short story excerpt

Saturday 4/9/22

3XXX’s


If X marks the spot what do three do


Three hands on the same place over the side of a bed


One to take another inside of it. The last on the top for reassurance


To curb doubt


;


:


, , ,



Stem the inevitable tide that comes but not really stemmed


Touch me here. Tra. Or was it la? The long ago yesterday that even now feels like erm, ah, if I had to say, a few hours back, last time the sun was in the sky and it’s about to be again. Winsome romance. Sustaining the dance.


(Were we ever so young? Of course we were silly. Silly dilly. Always made me want to eat pickles. On a porch. In summer)


Let me show you


Guided touch


The Midas touch


Like that?


Like that


Just like that


But comes


the hand in the hand in the hand which must have happened before but when do you really notice?


Some girl in nursery school, I may remember, she took my hand in both of hers


In what we don’t see in a moment we may give it tacit approval because we could see it and we don’t see with eyes except when that happens


And that’s—eh


Maybe not that much at all. Qualitatively. Comparatively.


Spurts for the blood. Yes, it does go that way. It’s not an effect.


Touch me like this. No, like this. A no that’s no rebuke. A request. The point isn’t to get it right the first time. There is no right for the first time. The first time is just starting. It’s the times after that does our counting.


Pressing again. So different. In times of war apply pressure and war can mean so very much. I’d drink Vesuvius for you.


What do you think if we made a small boat out of—


--What do you want to make it out of?


Oh I see how you’re thinking. We’re giving this real consideration. We’re entertaining it. Surely there’s a reason.


Four eyeballs. Not two sets of two. A set in a set. Is that what we are when we have chosen to love? Can you know all along what you never knew you knew once?


I think I’d make it out of a matchbox. They’re roomier than you expect at first. Open a matchbox, and the matches aren’t packed to the top. There’s more air than matches. It’s spacious, actually. So I think if we went down a river of blood or a river of the unknown if we were shrunken to our essence, then a matchbox would be the way to go for our vessel.


Tell me the worst thing you ever did.


Jesus, now? Okay. You know how I love birds?


Yep.


Of course she knows you love birds. You’re doing that part for you. To get you going. The words in eyes like flashes of castle walls that make no sounds. They might not be words, but they’re something. The word daft sounds so much like draft. Its flash. As such. The blowing. Words not for staying. For starting instead.


I found this female cardinal just barely into the woods when I was a kid. On the ground. The neighbor’s cat got it. The cat caught birds, sliced them, but it didn’t eat them, didn’t bring them anywhere, didn’t need to watch them die. More like it was worried that it was losing its speed or ability to catch birds and needed to attest otherwise to itself.


Look. God what time is it. What if there are rooms where time doesn’t work the way time always works like rain doesn’t always work the same way on two sides of a street? Everything is a little bit uneven, at the very least.


The bird could have lived if she was a pet and wouldn’t be outside unable to fly. She wasn’t hurt that bad for houses but bad enough for the woods. There was a thorn bush near her. Near us. I snapped off a bit of it. I was just curious. I stuck a thorn into one of her eyes. I was going to kill her. Quick. I was only adding a few seconds. What would it mean in the end? It’s seconds. How much pain can really be in a second? The look she gave me with the one eye left. The seconds were becoming more than seconds. I think she wanted to know what was coming next. That it hadn’t gone the way she’d expected it to. The day. The attack from the cat. The cat leaving. The thorn. I picked up a rock the size of my fist. And I smashed her. The ground sagged as I hit most of her body but not all of it so I could feel the feathers on part of the back of my hand. It was spring. The melt water. I hit her again so the seconds would get shorter. And that was the worst thing I ever did.