The Only Turquoise Left in the Animal Kingdom
I say this havingoverheardtoo much, havingfixated on theterminology—the soffit, someone’sbay laurel nextdoor. Windshieldwipers mightas well beGreek, whatwith all theirpursuing. I rememberthe wasp’s nests,which we poisonedbut never tookdown. The lack,someone said. Whatfills the lack,someone said.
I couldn’tlook in youreyes. They were likea flashlightin a child’s mouth,like nickels inthe dryer. It allfilled up, becomingthat capsule thatwe would wantto open lateron, though opening [End Page 121] it would also besacrilege.
I don’t knowanything aboutkingfishersbut how turquoisethey are—theonly turquoise leftin the animalkingdom. Theyshow up in allthese children’sbooks. Dismantlement,someone said.Disappearance,someone said. Itmade sensethat that flume thatcarried us upwould eventuallylay waste tothis neighborhood,those limetrees, the shedsfalling intothemselves with agrateful oh.
If I’ve seenIf I’ve seentrapdoors, it’sbehind that one housethat youlike, openingto some cellar thatvaguely remindsyou ofmoss. I don’twant to besentimental, like [End Page 122] how your eyesopen underwaterand it allseems winsome,blurrier. There isa pendulum,and in trying forthe pylon it nevergets there. I won’tfinish thispoem. If I do,I’ll cross out thenames with the juicefrom twoplums.
The commitment,they said. Swells ofmusic, theysaid. I hear howkiss rhymes withtruce. IfI can get awayfrom what’spreordained,can findthat firsttsetse that landedon your face. IfI can findsomething otherthan cancellation. If inbathroom stallsI can drawversions of themoon. Somethingother than blood,they said. Somethingmoral, they said. [End Page 123] Now thatthe scaffolding is atour feet, imploded,like a carnivaltent, I say whatI have beentrying to say—this was commitment.I woke nearthe contaminatedbeaches that Ichose to liveby. Helicoptersflew over us andcensured thedogs. I came backto the city,the jasmine, drunkcrows that trip throughan intersection.The only thing leftto prove is howlittle thereis left toprove. [End Page 124]
Everyone’s halflistening to the peoplethey’re notwith. Eavesdroppinglike trying to lassosomething. Late Thursday,bombardedby sunlight, if forno other reason youfeel reassuredby the shops’ exactness—lawns totallydominated, a fewmallards besidethe army-surplus greenpools. The bungalowtheme may beoverstated, but ithas powersof suggestion. I mean,I’m absolutelythinking about thesea. I’m readyto look up and seethe wince ofthe stars. I thoughtit was profound ifthe girls camehere, if they called ita mode oftyranny. Butthat’s probablysomething I should have [End Page 125] said yearsago, and in Old Englishlettering on myback. Am Isupposed to havesome sexlessconfidence called beinga husband? Are allthe vows inone room, and doesthe room smell likemustard? The birdsseem friskytoday. Theystorm each table withan almost toxicthoroughness.The way you do allthis is firstby imitating someoneelse and then comingclean about theimitation. If youcould have done usthe courtesy ofadding twentymore minutes to thefilm—a lastscene or two thatshows the pedantrythat comesafter. I wantto concentrate onthe fly’s slowness,especially as itmakes sense ofsucralose. I can’tbelieve howloud thosegirls are. Fountains, [End Page 126] if you look atthem longenough, look likea girl’s legs ona treadmill. Hibiscuslike fists. I can’tbelieve thatthere are this manyunderweight ducks, andI wonder if they’veoverheard us, ifthey’ve caught on toowell. All Ican offer is theappropriateterminology. Silverblankets on the...