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THE BLACK HOSE / Bruce Weigl A boy who knew enough to save for something like the whim that took me downtown on the bus one lost Saturday, morning of my mother's birthday, I sat in the back where the gasoline smell made me dizzy and I closed my eyes but didn't think of her, only of myself, basking in the light and love that would fall down on me when I handed her the box and she untied the bow to save and lifted something shining out and held it up before us like a promise taking shape for once in her hands though I didn't know what to buy, the bus door hissing behind me because I'm in some kind of state now, a trance that comes when you pull at the cords of light that connect the mother to the boy, the 1959 department store opening up before me like a jeweled city. In lingerie I found myself surrounded by those torsos sheened in silk, dreaming my mother, feeling that silk against me, the two of us moving through a cloudy room in a dance I can't remember until shame comes. From out of nowhere the matron frowned, asked me what I wanted, hovered over me. Confused and afraid I whispered without thinking The black hose with rhinestones down the seams please and pointed to the pair across the room stretched over the legs standing on the glass counter as if about to step off and I saw her in my mind slip them on, her skirts hiked up above the garters, the sun catching in her tangled hair until the matron made a sound in her throat and looked at me with eyes that said What's wrong with you dirty boy. AU the way home a sweet ache rocked me, 238 · The Missouri Review the silver package riding my lap like a heavy wrong thing I couldn't give up no matter how it dragged me down to a place where I could barely breathe or see or feel. I was holding on for a last few moments to the woman I could never have in the old way. I was breaking loose at the same time, the boy trying to die inside me. Whatever happened that spinning afternoon— she ran her fingers over the rhinestone seams or she didn't, she wore them out into an evening or kept them forever in her drawer of impossible things doesn't matter or is lost in the storm of years but I would find my way to the light of another woman into whose arms and legs I fall nights my fingers can't tear through the dark that eats me, the silk stretched across her breasts, the need for something womanly to raise me up pounding in my head until I curl in sleep away from those longings ancient and blue. Bruce Weigl THE MISSOURI REVIEW · 239 ...


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