Monday, June 1, 2009

Storms from the Old Patio

What would she do when she felt like pulling out her hair? One by one or maybe in big clumps of orgasmic release. What would she do when she felt the hurricane come from inside, sweeping through every red tendril, pulling up every cell traveling down the corridors of fire. Great swells moved through her, like ocean storms upsetting schools of fish and traveling whales that wanted nothing more than to reach warmer waters. No, there were wooden ships waiting to capture dolphins and take them to cemented circuses. There were old fashioned harpooners with sharp metal poles. There could be no safe journey. Each mile moved was a step of luck, a brief silence that could be broken at any time.
She sat on the cold linoleum, the same pattern she had grown up with, the pattern of their old patio. The room her father had attempted to renovate. They painted it white, they lay a new floor, they cleaned the barbecue and had birthday parties out there, every year ‘til she was seventeen years old. ‘Til she was seventeen and they moved to a little condo and she had a boyfriend no one liked. Then there were no more parties of short-haired girls.
The old patio, perhaps torn down now, had always gathered mold in one particular corner. They tried to paint over it, but the black spots always surfaced and the southern California heat was not enough to obliterate it. No one thought about the health effects then, no one worried about a little mold, so the children piled in and sat at a long table and ate hamburgers her dad had grilled and ate slices of birthday cake her mom had made and they brought presents and swam in the long rectangular pool. Her dog always lurked with the smell of food, and one year, her mom, distracted, lay a plate of hamburgers on a low lying coffee table and her dog snatched a couple and licked many more. By the time anyone noticed, half a plate was gone and they all shouted "Blackstar!” as she swallowed as fast as she could before she was dragged by the collar and thrown out of the windowed room. Her dad grilled more and the little girls ate until they grew older and many of them turned into vegetarians and then her dad grilled fake meat burgers and tofu dogs and her flesh and blood dog wandered the room, hoping for a dropped morsel.
She sat on the same patterned floor now. With great storms passing through her. Schools of blue and yellow fish traveled up and down the length of her short body. They darted, trying to avoid the sting of her spear, the sharp metal she projected inward. The ghosts of harpooners had long since melted with the sun, it was she her body should fear. She was the trapper, the man with the hook, the killer with the evil grin. Like a great cannibal she would come to feast on her own arms and legs. Had she carried these storms since the days of the patio? Birthday after birthday they became more a part of her, until she thought she was the swirling wind and the chilly gusts of rain filled nights.

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