Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Things ostensibly were coming to an end.  For her they were.  Even though she was aware of it ostensibly spiraling down.  Whereas as things ostensibly engaged in a slow drain.  Whereas as the poet joined the virtual unraveling of things.

She had been sitting for what seemed like most of the season.  Sitting for most of the season in her bath.  What season it was probably eliminated summer and maybe spring as well.  As well as could be narrowed down.  Narrowed down in the tub.  The tub she had lowered her body into.  Back in the time that spoke with dead voices whispering dead words.  The living imitated the deceased in their exclusion of her.  Whereas as the time had rushed out of sight around the averted eyes of others.  Others whereas as others by no means necessary for her.  By no means meant and not meant for her without a word.  Without a word.

She handled the teal crayon with her right hand.  The left hand had been of no use for some time.  Sometime whereas as some of the time it still was of no use.  To her and the rest of her.  Her that wanted to rest.  Handled the teal crayon with the other hand.  The other hand handling it for the time being.  Wet paper wrapped around the side of the tub.  Trying not to tear.  No tearing for her.  No tearing her whereas as she tried not to tear.  Paper wet.  Drying and splashed again by her body sliding from exhaustion.  Her body sliding from exhaustion into the water.  Pushing the water against the side of the tub.  Her body bumping the side of the tub and a wave made of drops painting the paper wet.  Painting the paper wet.

She handled the teal crayon and spoke softly, "Lips dry part to speak of paper made wet again.  Crayon.  Your crayon softening from the steam.  Draining and refilling.  Draining and refilling.  Cooling water.  Heating water.  Skin.  The skin of the knees chapped and sprinkled.  Chapped and sprinkled.  Skin beneath the surface rubbed by palms.  Peels away like the membrane of a hardboiled egg.  Membrane.  No tearing.  No tears anymore.  You've gotten that far.  That far in a wet place.  A wet place wet with tearing and grinding as mud collects and cakes between your teeth.  They avert their eyes and imitate dead people.  Dead people.  Dead images for you are slowing draining and refilling your tub.  Leaking from the spout.  Reducing waterfalls to calendars recycled in dry bins.  Until they are knocked over by the wind.  Upset bins vomit their shred waterfalls into the blight behind your lonely house. Upstairs in the tub.  Water is silent.  Strange sounds under the upper floor.  What stirs below?  Palms rub your flesh underneath the surface.  Membrane.  No tearing.  No tearing for her.  Peeling membrane curls into the cooling water.  Membrane curls into a dance banished to the edges where they cling.  Whereas as they cling to the edges.  Draining and refilling.  Drained and refilled.  Tearing as they are banished.  Banished by palms.  Fingers.  Fingers and nails puncture skin softened by water drained and refilled.  Cooled and reheated.  Heat softening skin to be punctured by fingers and nails.  Those nails like a fork testing the readiness of the skin.  Drained and refilled away.  Lifting off the bone.  These bony fingers writing with the teal crayon on wet paper.  No tearing before what is written is written.  Whereas as the draining and refilling.  Sliding under with a lowering of the chin.  Back into the hole she had emerged from.  Forgetting and slipping under.  Eyes closing.  Closing the lid of the container."

"Wake up."  Growled one of them.  She sat up to find the three of them standing over her tub.  Standing over her.  Over her in the tub.  The one who had spoken added, "Come out."

Whereas as the poet rubbed her face with her hands.  She held her hands over her face.  She held her hands over her face and kept them there.  She kept them there as the three of them stood over her there. 

"Come out," the middle one insisted.

Whereas as the poet held her hands over her face and kept them there, spoke through her wet bony fingers and replied, "It continues.  It continues interminably.  Interminably it continues."

"Come out," the middle one insisted again.
"Make her feel," muttered the one on the left.
"And have her come to her senses," added the one on the right.

They said these things as they stood over her.  As her flesh lifted from her bones underneath the surface.  Whereas as she tried not to tear the wet paper.  Gripping the teal crayon so it would not fall.  So it would not fall.  Until what is written is written.  Is written whereas as it is written not to tear.  Not to tear for her.  Slip back down.  Too soon.  Too late.  Timing and time eluded her always in this life of draining and refilling.  Cooling and reheating.  Cooling.  Slipping.  Slip.  Before they lift you out. 

"Come out," the middle one insisted and insisted.
"Make her feel," said the one on the left.
"Make her come to her senses," added the one on the right.

Whereas as the poet held her hands over her face and kept them there.  She lowered her chin and repeated, "It continues.  It continues interminably.  Interminably it continues."

- Max Stoltenberg

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