i can still remember the moment when, like a scalpel so sharp he didn't notice it, my best friend mentioned black specs in the window panes and said he loved what i'd done with the place and paint splatter. (or like a settlement crack when the pre-cast masonry shrinks and expands, but it feels like the foundation shifting and when the concrete contracts like that the slab simply sinks into the sand on which it stands.)
no wonder he's stumbling over the cornerstone with figurative eyes full of floaters and flashes and fibers projecting jackson pollock paintings dripping and alcoholic and brushing abstracts into life.
well anyway, the incisions in his vision cobwebbed out like varicose veins and when he finally realized that my walls were white, afraid was the only word that he found to articulate the way the blood spread, bruising beneath his faith. like a child scribbling something new into the pages of her coloring book, it kept refusing to stay inside of the lines, and he kept wondering if love really shows up to cast it out.
i've seen it in the nudity that the spirit seeks beneath the post-it-notes as fig leaves that I stick to myself like pithy, adhesive truisms could be my covering. there is something sacred about standing naked and blurred by the condensation in the mirror – that glass darkly, that fog – the way that knowledge came with a cost that taught me that certainty is not peace, and trust is more than belief, and surrender is more than a verbal assent to the idea of surrendering.
in confidence, my mother said that she wonders if there are some things that just will not be reconciled on this side of death. and i used to have her pegged as an escapist but what else is there to do but give up when clenched fists and vengeance still don't produced what they've intended?
can you be tender enough with yourself to flesh it out? to let the mess be what it is? we pummeled the constructs to dust and stared at it like, "well, where do we go from here?" that earth looks a lot like what we're made of. self-flagellation is what it is regardless of whether you call it penitent or progressive sanctification. is the word as retributive as we made him?
she heard my plea for mercy before i knew how to speak it. one morning, in her living room, i tried. the sunlight shone in through windows that lifted the colors of roses she had dried and hanging upside down in a row against the white on the wall, blood red like a foreshadowing and a sacrament.
i said, "i'm paralyzed. everything that has been so right for so long now just seems so wrong, and i don't know how to start over, and i don't know how to hope for anything beyond the approval of men who, somehow, had me convinced that buying their indulgences was the equivalent of hearing the voice of God.
how do i learn to hear him if they're gone?"