On your knees

On your knees on cold wet tile, your eyes and the dry empty cavities of your head drag upward slowly through the steam. They tingle benevolently and your shoulders melt into your neck growing soft and languid. Your face threatens to droop away. You tilt your head, turning back around your left shoulder and your eyes slide down to the right. You joints are warm and loose. They do not react. Your dresses are warm and wet, each blanketing you in viscous grog. The dress against your skin gathers around your joints where you crouch and sag with thick wet folds. The next approximates and smooths over the disruptions of the last, until the outer dress is a smooth rind over a heap of useless limbs, the whole mess growing heavier as it is warmed by steam. You are kneeling. Across your thighs the dress spreads out across the floor blending into it. Next to the door, which is ajar, you pick up two white canvas shoes. Each ponderous move pulls you deeper into the sagging landscape of your dresses. You slump your face out the door, into cold dry air and liquid light.

When you are adrift, you drift apart and you drift toward. Hope is pointless. Things happen. You see your shoes peeking out beyond the skirts of flowery cloth. Distances across nothing, across steam or dim carpet, are deceptive. Hoping to reach a togetherness, clasped from one day to the next, waiting for a final whole, a body with sense enough, whose origins you place at that very moment, with time enough before you drag the whole thing sleeping beneath the surface.

Stop. You teeter on the window light between days. You can sort the next events as they unfold. Each has its light, its toll. Those times waiting on the sun are discrete. They may not happen, but they will happen alone and to an empty room filled with the isolated props of other days. The things you plan are not going to use those things but you plan with them because they are all that you have. You cannot use the things that have come before. They are gone. They stay still, you move, and they are not real. Behind your back, out against the dark street, the lingering night washes the stuck doorknobs, the place settings, the sunless horizons and the blocks and blocks of blocks, the sand running through your fingers, the trees against the white sky, the curtains pulled aside to watch the rain, the chair pulled under the table and room after empty room in grey water, eroding the connections and the causes into a dusty soup. When you look back, across the beach and road, it is unrecognizable. You hold your breath and it scatters back there. Things stay in place forever. You blow away the dust that reminds you. She is up early, or the light never turned off.

Critical Response:

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