Sarah

One of my favorite poems of all time is by Joseph Hunt, a man whose career I hope takes off, so his poetry will be easier to find online and in bookstores.  (Which is my way of saying I don’t have said poem anymore, and I will now paraphrase.)  It’s a poem about two men who work at a water reclamation plant.  Man B finds Man A at the top of a ladder, hovering over the edge of a water tank.  Man A turns to Man B and explains to him that he’s drowning—that he feels full up with water.  That he works all day with water, that he drinks water, and that at night, when he’s at home, he thinks about it.  He touches it, bathes in it.  The air is heavy with water, Man B explains, and his pores, his mouth, his senses are all full up with it, saturated and suffused.  Tasteless, ubiquitous, transparent water.  Bloating, suffocating, dull.  And, Man A says, he is done.  Then Man A jumps off the ledge and into the tank, where he drowns.  Strapped to his back is a pack full of Tang.

Sometimes I feel this way about words.  Usually, I love them.  I am a word-lover, a believer.  Transparency?  I’m all for it.  A poster girl, a champion, an exponent.  A thoroughly verbally articulating lover.  Note: I have never written a post for the Apron Stage that is less than 500 words.  Our agreed-upon minimum is 200.

But sometimes—I get full up.  Filled up.  All I have are words—so many words—and they come out of me, they go into me, they fill my brain and my books and my screens and my music.  I am single.  I have no children.  I’m a girl.  There isn’t anyone for me to just touch or rock or kiss.  If I’m not alone, I’m in rooms with co-workers or roommates; I can’t enter or leave without having to say stuff.  Nothing is assumed.  It’s: “Hey, you busy?”  “Absolutely.  Will do.”  “Are we set for Erika’s birthday?” “Whose turn is it to pay the bills?”  Etc.

(Please don’t tell me your married lives are just like this.  If they are, take one for the single girl, and kiss without talking sometimes because you can.)

Sometimes I dream of sitting close to someone.  Maybe we are holding hands.  We are not talking.  No words, no thoughts, no reading.  The curtains in the room are white, and the flat surfaces—coffee table, shelves, stairs—are all bare, uncluttered, without missent mail, magazines, advertisements, or to-do lists.  The walls have paintings on them.  Maybe Fruit Trees by the Lake, Woman with a Parasol.  When I look at them, I see them.  The couch I’m sitting on is not against a wall; it is in the middle of the room.  There’s a fan on.  It hums white noise in repetitive motion.  I doze off; I dream of colors.

When I wake up, the room is still light.  My neck is dry and cool. The man is still holding my hand.  Now I lean forward, and he moves my hair aside and touches my back.  We say nothing.

And I think no more words, no more thoughts, and say nothing ever, ever again.  And if I wanted to, I could close my eyes, see silver, see white, blink out.

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