A few low lamps mimic some kind of shrieking pluck of a moon. It pierces. Greenery outside is sharp, sways, but gives nothing of its pockmarked façade. Transient shapes crumble walls inside. A siren blackens the wind every few minutes, skimming off the past.
Look for me among the surface of those who swallow days. We drive as though there’s a place in wait. The phone rails somebody’s face on a screen. We used to have something to show and tell. We drive. Maybe for an oil change. There’s free popcorn and no one talks. Maybe we circle the city as though goddamn traffic cares. Always appear as though there’s a destination. It’s a deliberate way to keep someone from flicking the vulnerability switch of you. Look determined.
I reside in a house full of holes. Peel its layers of skin. Shards of me expose themselves. Cracked from childhood, a mouth full of teeth shatter in dreams.
I wake up to a mask in a face one night. We both begin to breathe beyond our means. His eyes, his being, as discarded as furniture covered in white sheets. I’m not pronged for the job of ‘what color were his eyes,’ ‘what was he wearing’ ‘how tall is he’ kind of shit. My wrists are bound behind my back with twine to the overwrought sounds of us. He whispers “live or die.” Words that cluster through graveyards.
Great sweeps of seconds thread us from control to passive. One for the other. It’s a fucking deranged dance. He bores into me. No dew of moisture, though I cry for rain. See my skin. Raised and brayed as a fresh tattoo. I sink bitten fingernails into an island of flesh, break it, break it, but no goddamn ghosts.
I’m not a homicide. I am a homicide. Not in their reports. The mask did what it did and now I’m a paint-by-number girl. I exist in tiny beige squares. A neighbor next door spots the white van and a man in dark clothes. They ask me over and over, “how tall was he”, “what color were his eyes”, “what was he wearing?”
My sight takes in the yellow tape, uniforms mill, and still I see a crushed version of myself when Mom was alive and cutting my bangs for the school photo in second grade. I worked diligently to wiggle my two front teeth out together the night before the class photo.
You can number the days. How many spent inside not answering the phone? How many peering out the side of the shade? A shower, a toothbrush, another goddamn shirt. “You’re not talking,” they say.
Sometimes in the morning I can lie so still that nobody can remember me.