Desert Song

April 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

The mistake I made by not following you into the desert, making my skin dark and dirty and your hands all over my dirt. Finding the soft parts. There were times when the dunes crept up our legs, the wind pushing on us, inside of us. You placed flower stems inside of me to make the deepest pulse more palpable. The ends of the stems shook softly through the night as I laid still on the floor. You were scrupulous in your fieldwork and your breath felt barely hot as you examined so closely.

Maria came to pick you up the next day. Her name prefaced her body; it was concise and brimming with femininity. Her name was softer than the undersides of my breasts.

I wanted to resent her but I could not. I wanted to negotiate all of the triangles. You, me, her: the pyramids teetering on that long “a”, the  “ah—“, Mari-ah, the pleasure erupting from those five letters. But the conversations between us were indecipherable, the subtle nuances of our voices soldered together by the dry heat. We were not together in this place by coincidence.

The desert has a downward orientation: the earth pulls you in because there is not much else for it to swallow above ground. The precarious stacking of your vertebrae finds the few bends that it makes to give you the upright privilege—and then you start crawling. Everything is eventually forced to the ground, not just crawling but wrestling, lying still, bodies huddled, tangled, inserted, extruding. But it is fine, for the ground is cool. The wind combs the sand into long, gaping trenches where our bodies fall.

Once, I pushed you into the deeper sand. I could see the rocks in your teeth as you smiled up at me, and your gums bleeding from when your face hit the bottom of the Grave. You laughed and Maria cried. Maria cried hard, so hard that the earth beneath her started to slip about, dancing around her ankles, pulling her down into the grave too. You wiped her tears off of your lips as they continued to fall from above. “ah—ah—ah,” she cried. I kissed her temple and pushed her down into the pit with you. Now, all I could hear was a symphony of cries, you whimpering in a state of euphoria and her tiny orgasms in the shape of her name.

Holding the car door open with her thigh, a thin blanket holding her shoulders together and nothing else–that was Maria. Everything else just naturally in place, not limp but so quietly held. And you brushing you hair. your hair always looked terrible. Strands of soot, sticks, the femurs of small rodents, dried yucca all collected like the desertland on your plain skull. I guess you could say that is how I knew my way around you.

And then bathing you on Sundays, Maria always looking on in the door opening, crooked shoulders resting on the frame; in this house, every door was left ajar. Your body made a yawning shape in the tub and you were beautiful with your figure left open. When you finished, it was Maria who let the water out and handed you your robe. I simply watched on as your skinny legs quivered and shone, and Maria pulling the robe tight across your collar to keep you hidden from me.

But then, she did not care when we drank rum until the sky turned over, so much that your period was golden brown and your skin smelled of aniseed, and I could hardly imagine what I could do without you, and she found us tangled in the sand, just breathing. She stood in the rectangle of yellow light at the front door and eventually disappeared, leaving the light empty and bare and the door wide open.

you were gone the next day, but I knew that would happen. I helped you put your things in the car and Maria kept the passenger door propped open with her thigh and you brushed your dirty hair out of your face to say goodbye to me. Now, you smelled like the desert but it hardly repulsed me. I could stay here for another day, standing in the dirt, accepting the filth and the smell of a waterless landscape and getting a sweet taste on my tongue from mouthing Maria’s name like a desert song.


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