The photo is from 1978. My son, his truck. Behind him, my truck.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

House to House

Wednesday, March 6, 1985

Even by the standards of La Honda it's a small house.  Music is blasting as I approach.  My knock - my pounding - on the door is eventually answered by a gorgeous young woman.  She couldn't be more than 18.  She's wiping sweat from her face with a towel.  She's talkative, lonely, following me around the house when she isn't dancing.  The house is all one big room with a wall-size mirror next to the waterbed.  A man my age (thirty-something) rents this place.  I try not to think about that mirror, that girl, that waterbed.

I install a new electric circuit to the kitchen area and replace an old fuse box with a circuit breaker panel.  

Sometimes writing is a way to process emotions.  Heartbreak.  Or rage.  I'm in a free verse phase.  Back at my house, late afternoon, in my journal I write this:

In a black leotard and pink tights
she dances between sofa and bookshelf
studying the moves
in the big mirror.
Strawberry blond with freckles,
to my eyes she seems all body, all quivering
and unbelievably young
to be living with a stone-faced doctor
who drives old Chevy pickups
and works in a prison.
He found her in an Arizona town
near nowhere
and brought her to these mountains
where, speaking of prisons,
he forbids her to leave
this house without him,
where she watches television
while he's gone and practices
because she wants a job
at Harrah's
and someday hopes
to dance solo.
She asked me if
the local bar
is rowdy.
(Yes.  Sometimes.)
I don't say it but she is nowhere near
tough enough
for Vegas.
Doctor, how long can you keep
a butterfly
in a jar?

I'm reading it over, wondering if it's finished when I'm interrupted by a phone call from my neighbor, friend, client: Alex.  His wife is having a miscarriage.  Drop everything.  Later that night, in my journal I write:

Oh Sharon.  Sharon.
Alex calls me to your house
where you are upstairs
bleeding all over the bathroom.
The baby
if you can call it that
is in a water glass on the toilet
and you are lying on the floor
with a towel between your legs
moaning, "I didn't think . . .
it would be . . . like this . . . "
Only a fraction of your soul
remains clinging
to your body
as Alex takes the shoulders while
I cradle your bloody bottom
in my hands
down steep stairs
out the polished door
to the back seat of the BMW.
Spitting gravel
the car is gone;
you are gone
while I remain
holding your daughter's hand.
Her huge eyes
stare after the car.
She will sleep with my daughter tonight.
Right now she says not a word
sucking two fingers,
a deep beauty,
so young,
your creation.

No comments:

Post a Comment