Tuesday, February 11, 2014

1974



The cool dry slick slide of a garter snake through my hands, the small flat rock as big as my two palms together, set in the woolly green moss in the woods behind the house.

The smell of mud. Rain rolling like warm wax down the living room window.

The ping of  june bugs as they hit the screen door and me in my summer pajamas, fresh from the bath with hair still wet and stuck to my head and neck, sitting at the table playing with clay while my parents sit in the next room watching tv.

The little men who clung to the bathroom fan leering at me with wide eyes from the ceiling while I soaked in my bath.The whirligig of red, blue, and green faces that spun in front of my eyes at night before sleep took me. The murmur of voices that echoed in my ears while the faces spun. The faces only I could see that stared at me from under the paint on walls, the phantom cats, slinking around corners and through doors, so quick, sometimes I was only aware of the movement, or perhaps the flick of a long tail or small quiet black foot. Childhood nightmares of naked rope bound women hanging from hooks on walls or hanging from trees in the forest.

Salt spilled on the kitchen table, a spray of perfect tiny white cubes. Milk like a cloud poured into a cup of black coffee. Purple petunias, sticky velvet, the grain of the wood on the second stair, the taste of the window screen, my tongue against the dusty warm metal for a moment, my spit spanning the spaces between the wires like glass.

Crouching in dad's dark closet between the curve and strum of his guitar and his guns with their hard sharp acrid petroleum smell, the blue-grey terry cloth bathrobe. The waft and waver of cigarette smoke rising like kelp from deep below to the surface drawn toward the heat and light from the globe of a 60 watt incandescent bulb.






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