Mrs. P. Goes House-Hunting
Buzz, buzz, buzz goes the world. We are each in a distortion of our own making. The glass is half whatever, depending on the day you are having—its etches and flaws encompassing the mind’s dark hesitations. Mrs. P. went house-hunting. Trees braided in and out of the clouds, pollen fell like ash onto her windshield. At one house, Doreen, the realtor, balanced precariously on a step ladder to see if anyone was home—peering inside: the room loomed like a movie scene, after the shooting: stripped walls, carpets curled up like infants, fluorescent lights with cords hanging motionless as the birds and stars in a Miró painting. Bright blue, dimpled tarp half-covered a boat in the backyard. At another home, a blue plastic shark hung near the door—mouth open. An address is something we tattoo quietly onto the self. It whispers its letters and numbers into our breathing until it flies constantly behind us, like the banners planes drag, undulating across the sky. You think a place is home and then it’s time to move on. You think you are having a bad day when you begin to envy
the bees, spinning around helpless in a puddle on a piece of pavement, the sun dousing them in an early summer glow. You envy the tight little frame that pavement becomes for them. The neat circumference of their pain. Most of the time loss fails to offer the drama required: the elegant heroines smoking cigarettes as their lives dwindle away, the enemy troops marching through the town square. Only Mrs. P. driving from name to name: Cherry Lane, Admiral Street, Possum Hill, and the laundromat a block away.
It begins as clouds at the back of the brain—grainy, tenderly bruised clouds. I want to be free your brain exclaims. Free from what? You ask as you make your way down the corridor: beige light pleading at the occasional window, blond shining shapes on the mopped, smooth floor. But you know what your brain means. You could duck out now, under the red-embroidered Exit sign, take off for pancakes at noon in a little, off-the-beaten-path café, the bathroom smelling a little smoky, like a memory you know you have and have forgotten. The sun notches itself another degree towards the west. In the Western, it’s all railroads and horses, the mountains like movie-star teeth in all their polished snow. You wish you could head off this cold like bandits at the mountain pass. It rumbles closer, velvety and particular, amassing in one corner of your consciousness, like people outside a theater in the rain—their black umbrellas blooming all at once. In the end, you give in. The furniture moves a few inches to the right, the pillow embraces you like a distracted mother. You are grateful as the silence thickens and grows viscous, pours over you like a kind syrup. From a certain distance, you can imagine the many small feet of birds skimming the air above your apartment building. Or you can imagine your clothes loosening their hold—the sleeves fluttering more lightly about your wrists, your black jeans shuffling like breezy curtains about your hips. This is not Spain with its olive oil and tourists. This is not Costa Rica, simmering in its varying shades of green. This is not even the sandbox you played in as a child—the damp grains of it stickingto your skin—but it is a place, and with a nod of
your head, your whole body falls in.
Only this literary journal could have phrases like this on the home page:
"Lobsters Have a Language all their Own" or "Lobsters Age Gracefully"...... Enjoy the Reading!